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Investing In Stocks Isn’t Impossible Or Crazy If You Don’t Swing For The Fences

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Investing in stocks has an allure like no other. Each day there are winners and losers, and one can easily see where they could have made a fortune if only they’d acted yesterday. Sitting down and staring at a screen full of stock prices, you can be sure of one thing: If you pick the right combination and dump all your money in, you will be rich within months. On top of that, the ease of entry and exit is remarkably simple. There are none of the challenges of starting your own business, building sales, hiring heroes and weirdos, dealing with the latter, and skating through the other million challenges only small business owners experience. It’s all a lot of work. But stocks…a few clicks and your fortune is made! Maybe!

No wonder we’re drawn to the game like moths to a flame, and the analogy is more startlingly apt than we realize. After you’ve signed your wings, or even worse piloted straight into the flame, you will nod to yourself, yup, that’s how it goes. Which is a shame.

What makes investing so challenging? Many things, but first it is imperative to understand the pricing of securities. The price will go up or down depending on the perceived fortunes of the company, and many investors sadly believe that by reading a headline or making a guess about some market development like a new demand for graphite, they can go grab a stock and ride it to the moon. And they might, but first it’s critical to understand that the pros, the people that live and breathe markets, are light years ahead of you, and have moved their money accordingly. When you get a hot stock tip from your beard-trimmer, the early/smart money has come and gone, and if not gone, is waiting for you to throw yours in before scampering. 

If you don’t believe me, consider this quote from a remarkably well-placed US market commentator that goes by the mysterious name of The Heisenberg (heisenbergreport.com). The guy (I think) lives and breathes markets, and reading his output makes one realize that the market is moving in ways that retail investors can’t keep up with unless they are diligent to the point of obsession and have about 22 hours a day to devote to the topic. Here’s a quote from one of his posts at Seeking Alpha: “if, for whatever reason, the long-end of the US curve were to suddenly sell-off, the attendant bear steepener would mechanically force an unwind in all manner of equities expressions tied to the “duration infatuation,” including, but not limited to, min. vol. vehicles, momentum products, secular growth, defensives and, obviously, traditional bond proxies.”

Obviously? Huh? I’ve been around markets for decades, watching all sorts of developments, and people like this lose me by the third line. There is a whole layer of expertise in financial engineering that most people don’t even know exists. I’m pretty sure that if you don’t study market manipulations with the devotion of a dog to its feeding dish that you won’t be able to keep up with that narrative.

The coronavirus pandemonium has made things even worse. Blue-chip stocks that once seemed invincible have seen share prices collapse, because the future is unknown. If all the pros are fleeing, why would an average investor even consider entering the game?

You will at some point have to, one way or another, if you’re involved at all in being responsible for your retirement funding. You can farm it all out and pay through the nose, or learn a bit about what you’re actually investing in and if you’re getting your hard-earned money’s worth. Maybe you decide individual stocks aren’t for you, in which case ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds, which are pools of money that buy stocks that mirror stock or bond sectors, or certain sub-indices) are the next best thing (per a guy who should know – Warren Buffett). If you do buy stocks, preferably ones that grow dividends steadily, the stress of watching your portfolio pogo up and down is relieved because you can focus on the dividend cash flow instead. Then you can relax and go back to quality internet programming like funny cat videos or Russian traffic fails. Or is that just me…

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary

Terry Etam is a twenty-five-year veteran of Canada’s energy business. He has worked at a number of occupations spanning the finance, accounting, communications, and trading aspects of energy, and has written for several years on his own website Public Energy Number One and the widely-read industry site the BOE Report. In 2019, his first book, The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity, was published. Mr. Etam has been called an industry thought leader and the most influential voice in the oil patch. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.

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Alberta

Edmonton triples venture capital investment in 2023

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Alberta’s tech sector continues its strong momentum, with Edmonton seeing its strongest growth ever, proof Alberta remains a hot tech market.

As global and national investment have declined, Alberta has remained a strong tech market and is showing continued leadership, as shown by Pitchbook ranking Calgary as the 12th fastest-growing tech ecosystem in the world and LinkedIn ranking Calgary as one of the best places to hire and recruit tech workers.

At the end of 2023, Alberta’s five-year growth rate for venture capital dollars invested reached an impressive 48.5 per cent, more than triple Canada’s compounded average growth rate of 13 per cent, according to the 2023 Canadian Venture Capital Private Equity Association fourth-quarter report.

The province’s growth rate means Alberta finished 2023 with $707 million invested over 86 deals, in line with Alberta’s 2022 record-breaking year. In contrast, Canada ended the year with a 31 per cent decline in investments. Over the past five years, Alberta technology companies have secured more than $2.7 billion in venture capital funding across 350 deals, creating thousands of jobs for Albertans.

“While Canada as a whole saw massive declines, Alberta has held steady. We are a major venture capital player in Canada, as technology drives growth across all sectors.”

Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation

Alberta’s two largest cities continued to attract investment dollars in 2023, with Calgary and Edmonton coming in fourth and fifth respectively for number of deals, with $501 million invested in 64 deals in Calgary and $188 million invested in 21 deals in Edmonton. Edmonton saw a 324 per cent increase from $58 million in 2022 to $188 million in 2023. In total, Alberta captured 10.3 per cent of dollars invested in 2023 and 13 per cent of venture capital deals in Canada.

“Edmonton’s tripling of venture capital investment in 2023 underscores our city’s position as a dynamic tech capital within Alberta’s thriving innovation ecosystem, reaffirming our role as a powerhouse driving technological advancement and economic prosperity across diverse sectors. It is the local innovators’ relentless pursuit of solutions to real-world problems, with the continuing support of the Government of Alberta, which not only attracts significant investment but also propels our city to the forefront of Alberta’s tech revolution and fosters job creation for our community.”

Launa Aspeslet, interim chief executive officer, Edmonton Unlimited

“At Platform Calgary we are working with our partners to continue this momentum by linking up high potential tech startups with the investors that can help them take their businesses to the next level. The evidence is clear, Alberta is emerging as one of the most exciting and resilient tech ecosystems in the world. Together with our growing tech community, we can secure Alberta’s position as the best place in the world for anyone to launch and grow a tech business.”

Terry Rock, president and chief executive officer, Platform Calgary 

Alberta remains a growing market for the technology and innovation sector, and Alberta’s government celebrates its steady contribution to the Alberta economy, including in the fourth quarter of 2023. The end of last year saw venture capital investments in the province increase by 35 per cent for dollars invested and 19 per cent for deals closed compared with the third quarter. There were 25 deals closed valued at a combined $173 million in the fourth quarter of 2023.

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Economy

Taxpayer watchdog slams Trudeau gov’t for increasing debt ceiling: ‘Put down the credit card’

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland authorized an additional $73 billion in borrowing this fiscal year.

After Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland gave herself and the government the authority to borrow an additional $73 billion this fiscal year, the head of the nation’s leading taxpayer watchdog group said the federal government needs to “put down the credit card” and return to common-sense spending.

Freeland, as per a February 15 cabinet order made under the Financial Administration Act, allowed the extra borrowing to take place.

The government has set “$517 billion to be the maximum aggregate principal amount of money that may be borrowed” before April 1. Before this cabinet order, however, the maximum amount was $444 billion.

Despite Freeland claiming that the increase in borrowing is “in no way a blank cheque,” Canadian Taxpayers Federation federal director Franco Terrazzano said the borrowing needs to end.

“The Trudeau government needs to put down the credit card and pick up some scissors,” Terrazzano told LifeSiteNews.

“The government should be cutting spending and balancing the budget, not racking up more debt for years to come.”

In 2021, Canada’s Parliament raised the federal debt borrowing amount by a whopping 56% under the Borrowing Authority Act. The amount went from $1.168 trillion to $1.831 trillion.

“What it does is set a ceiling for how much the government can spend,” Freeland said at the time.

Terrazzano told LifeSiteNews that the Trudeau government should be cutting spending and balancing the budget, not racking up more debt for years to come.

Terrazzano observed that in the coming year the Trudeau government will be spending “more money on debt interest charges than it sends to the provinces in health transfers.”

“In a handful of years, every penny collected from the GST (Goods and Service Tax) will go toward paying interest on the debt,” he noted.

Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, due to excessive COVID money printing, inflation has skyrocketed.

Last month, LifeSiteNews reported that fast-rising food costs in Canada have led to many people feeling a sense of “hopelessness and desperation” with nowhere to turn for help, according to the Canadian government’s own National Advisory Council on Poverty.

Last year, the Bank of Canada acknowledged that Trudeau’s federal “climate change” programs, which have been deemed “extreme” by some provincial leaders, are indeed helping to fuel inflation.

Terrazzano told LifeSiteNews that Trudeau should “completely scrap his carbon tax,” which is making everything more expensive.

Conservatives blast increased debt

Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) MPs have been critical of the raised debt ceiling. “You’re simply saying, ‘Give me a blank cheque and then trust me,’” MP Ed Fast said.

Freeland claimed that the “characterization of the borrowing authority limit as a blank cheque is simply false.”

CPC leader Pierre Poilievre recently asked, “Is there a dollar figure to which she would limit the debt?”

She replied that the government is “mindful that limits exist.”

During a February 13 Senate national finance committee meeting, Budget Officer Yves Giroux noted how Trudeau’s cabinet plans in terms of spending are not clear.

“We don’t know exactly what the government plans on spending or doing in terms of new spending or potential spending,” he said when asked by Senator Elizabeth Marshall if the new borrowing limits are “still realistic.”

Marshall added, “As it stands now, do you think it looks reasonable?”

“It looks sufficient, but the government always wants to give itself some room to maneuver in case there are unforeseen events that require borrowing on short notice,” Giroux replied.

A report from September 5, 2023, by Statistics Canada shows food prices are rising faster than headline inflation at a rate of between 10% and 18% per year.

According to a recent Statistics Canada survey of supermarket prices, Canadians are paying 12% more for carrots, 14% more for hamburger (ground meat), and 27% more for baby formula.

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