“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom” – Marilyn Ferguson

U.S. Fed, Bank of Canada Announce “Emergency” Rate Cuts of 50 Basis-Points

It was an up-and-down, volatile week in North American markets on the heels of last week’s steep declines.

Markets rallied on Monday on the prospect of a U.S. Fed rate cut.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve – attempting to stem COVID-19 / coronavirus-related market decline – announced an “emergency” rate cut of 50 basis-points. Markets largely ignored the rate cut, as coronavirus fears loomed.

Wednesday saw the Bank of Canada announce a matching 50 basis-point rate cut, again under emergency circumstances; the TSX rallied on the news. In the U.S., post-Super Tuesday results pushed U.S. markets steeply upward.

On Thursday and Friday, coronavirus panic continued with major Canadian and U.S. markets down once again.

In total, markets were a mixed bag on the week. North American markets were mostly flat with the DOW increasing a modest 1.79% and, conversely, the TSX dropping 0.54%. Most European and Asian markets were down, with the Shanghai Composite Index being a notable exception, posting a 5.38% gain on the week. Gold futures, a classic safe-haven investment, were up about 6%.

We have written extensively on the potential market effects of the coronavirus panic and how markets have reacted over a longer time frame. See our blog entries from February 26th and February 28th. Our position remains the same: maintain a well-diversified portfolio consisting of high-quality holdings. Plan ahead for scheduled and/or regular withdrawals such as RRIF payments, LIF payments, etc.

Does the CRA Owe You Money?

I recently logged onto my CRA My Account, and to my surprise – I’d never noticed this before – there was a sub-heading called “Uncashed cheques”. Curious, I clicked the link. I discovered that the CRA mailed me a cheque in 2008 that never found its way to me!

The advent of CRA’s Direct Deposit option for receiving refunds and other government benefits is still quite new, relatively speaking. Prior to Direct Deposit, all benefits and refunds were paid via a cheque and mailed to taxpayers.

Cheques mailed to taxpayers by the CRA were occasionally lost in the mail, taxpayers moved without the CRA’s knowledge, etc. As a result, many taxpayers have recently discovered they have balances owed to them by the CRA.

How Do I Check for a Cheque?

I will note from the outset that this is not something that we at You First can do for you. You must take this action on your own.

Step 1: Log on to the CRA’s My Account page (you can google “CRA My Account” and it will be the top/first search result.

If you do not have a CRA My Account profile, you’ll have to set one up.

Step 2: From the Overview screen, the right side of the page will have a list of links under the “Related Services” headline. Scroll to the bottom of this list, to “Uncashed Cheques”. Click this link.

Step 3: Any uncashed cheques the CRA has on file for you will be listed here. You’ll see the payment date, the amount and the payment type.

Step 4: There is also a column called “Generated 535”. You can generate and print a pre-populated form. On the bottom of this form, you and a witness must sign and date.

Step 5: On the uncashed cheques page, there is another link called “Instructions for requesting duplicate payments”. Click this to show a mailing address you can send the completed form to.

Step 6: The processing time is 60 days, per the CRA site. You should thus receive a fresh cheque in about 3 months.

Weekly Update – By The Numbers

North America Friday Close Weekly Change Weekly % Change YTD % Change
Canada – S&P TSX Composite 16,175 -88 -0.54% -5.20%
USA – Dow Jones Industrial Average 25,865 456 1.79% -9.37%
USA – S&P 500 2,972 18 0.61% -8.02%
USA – NASDAQ 8,576 9 0.11% -4.42%
Gold Futures (USD) $1,674.20 $94.80 6.00% 10.14%
Crude Oil Futures (USD) $41.57 -$3.22 -7.19% -32.09%
CAD/USD Exchange Rate € 0.7444 -€ 0.0021 -0.28% -3.32%
Europe / Asia Friday Close Weekly Change Weekly % Change YTD % Change
MSCI World Index 2,149 6 0.28% -8.86%
Switzerland – Euro Stoxx 50 3,232 -97 -2.91% -13.77%
England – FTSE 100 6,463 -103 -1.57% -14.47%
France – CAC 40 5,139 -171 -3.22% -14.03%
Germany – DAX Performance Index 11,542 -348 -2.93% -12.88%
Japan – Nikkei 225 20,750 -393 -1.86% -12.29%
China – Shanghai Composite Index 3,035 155 5.38% -0.49%
CAD/EURO Exchange Rate € 0.6597 -€ 0.0168 -2.48% -3.89%
Fixed Income Friday Close Weekly Change Weekly % Change YTD % Change
10-Year Bond Yield (in %) 0.7060 -0.4210 -37.36% -63.21%


Sources: Canada.ca, Yahoo! Finance, CNBC.com

This information is provided for general information purposes only. It does not constitute professional advice. Please contact a professional about your specific needs before taking any action.