North American markets had a strong week after an announcement that the Bank of Canada and other major central banks would provide added support to the global financial system. 

On Tuesday, Canada’s central bank, along with the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Swiss National Bank came together “to enhance their capacity to provide liquidity support to the global financial system.”

The central banks are making it cheaper for banks to get U.S. dollar liquidity when they need it, starting next Monday. They are also taking steps to ensure banks can get ready money in any currency if market conditions warrant.

The possibility that one or more European governments might default on debt has raised fears of a shock to the global financial system that would lead to severe losses for banks and a contraction in lending.

On Friday, Germany’s Angela Merkel stressed the need for great economic unity within the euro zone as leaders prepare to meet next week to discuss an agreement for greater fiscal co-operation.  At the same time, Italian and French government bond yields rose – underscoring that the solution to the debt crisis will need more than talk about the need for agreements.


RRSP Survey

An annual Investors Group survey found that just fewer than 6 million Canadians contributed to an RRSP in 2010, down 0.2% from 2009. 

Out of the total tax-base, 93% of filers were eligible to contribute in 2010, but only 26% did.  83% of those planning to make an RRSP contribution plan to contribute at least as much as they did last year
The good news is that total contributions rose by 2.6% to $33.9 billion. The bad news is that this total represented about 5.1% of the total room available, down from 5.4% used in 2009.

Looking at contributions by city, Calgary had the highest median contribution ($3,900), followed by Vancouver ($3,400) and Toronto ($3,380).  The lowest median contributions were made in St. Catharines-Niagara ($2,240) and Barrie, Ontario ($2,250).

Market Results (as of December 2, 2011)

-The TSX closed at 12075, up 613 points or 5.35% over the past week. YTD the TSX is down -10.18%.

-The DOW closed at 12019, up 787 points or 7.01% over the past week. YTD the DOW is up 3.81%.

The S&P closed at 1244, up 85 points or 7.33% over the past week. YTD the S&P is down -1.11%.

-Gold closed at 1746, up 60.00 points or 3.56% over the past week. YTD gold is up 22.87%.

-Oil closed at 101.13, up 4.36 points or 4.51% over the past week. YTD oil is up 10.27%.

-The CAD/USD closed at 0.981, up 0.0275 points or 2.88% over the past week. YTD the CAD/USD is down -2.15%.


Sources: The Globe & Mail, Advisor.Ca