Large-cap U.S. equities outperformed buoyed by President Joe Biden’s accelerated target of 200 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office. Global government bond yields retreated from recent highs and commodity prices pulled back amid concerns over a third wave of the coronavirus.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index declined amid weakness in health care, technology, and materials. Rate-sensitive sectors (utilities and REITs) strengthened. The CFIB Business Barometer Index, a measure of Canadian business confidence, climbed to its highest level since April 2011 buoyed by vaccine optimism.
The S&P 500 Index (C$) advanced as all sectors gained except for communications and discretionary. Rate-sensitive sectors outperformed. U.S. manufacturing activity strengthened in March buoyed by growth in new orders, however, rising input costs exerted pressure on output.
The MSCI EAFE Index (C$) advanced led by technology, utilities, and materials. Discretionary, energy, and communications declined. Japan underperformed as its purchasing managers’ surveys continued to deteriorate in March hampered by the recent state of emergency.