February 2024 – Perspectives

Rebecca Campbell

We built Inukshuk Capital Management to serve the needs of clients looking for a unique approach – void of conflicts of interest, commission sales and pushed products. We began by putting our own money where our mouth is. With low fees and active risk management, we help families achieve financial longevity, that’s the bottom line.

Stay up-to-date on the latest developments by following us on LinkedIn here.


The RRSP contribution deadline for the 2023 tax year is February 29

February 2024: Perspectives

In this issue:

  • Global Equity Market Performance
  • Investment Biker
  • Japan
  • China
  • Wrapping Up
  • Health is Wealth

Global Equity Market Performance

After a couple of strong months heading into the end of last year, 2024 started on a more subdued note.

The S&P 500 and the S&P/TSX60 were up 1.5% and 0.5% respectively while MSCI EAFE added just over 0.6% and Emerging Markets fell 2.8%.

The relative performance of MSCI Emerging Markets compared to EAFE can be partly explained by China versus Japan. 25% of the MSCI EM index is China and 24% of the MSCI EAFE index is Japan. In January, the benchmark Nikkei 225 was up over 8% while the Shanghai Composite Index was down more than 6%.

This is not a recent development. Over the past year Japan has outperformed China by more than 50%. We will explore this more, below.

Our systems remain fully long both the S&P 500 and the S&P/TSX 60.

If you would like to stay current on our measures of trend and momentum in the markets we follow, please click here .

Investment Biker 

Jim Rogers, co-founder with George Soros of the Quantum Fund, published a book in 1994 about his 1989 to 1990 global road trip titled, Investment Biker. The first leg began in Ireland and ended in Tokyo. He visited many ‘frontier’ market countries and invested along the way. At that time the average investor had almost no access to these markets. He was far ahead of his time. The MSCI EM index was not created until 2001.


Japan was not an emerging market in the late 80s. The Nikkei 225 index was created in 1950. The market had performed well and from inception was up 8300% at its peak in 1989. In the five years prior to the Nikkei’s high, it outperformed the S&P 500 by about 65%. That’s when Rogers started his trip.

Growing up in the 1960s and 70s in Canada, Japanese products were often looked upon as cheap and a threat to local manufacturers and their employees. That image changed around the time the Sony Walkman was introduced to North America in 1980. Japanese electronics, cars and stocks were in high demand.

After the top, things didn’t go so well.

In 2002 the Bank of Japan (BOJ) started to buy stocks via ETFs and at one point it was estimated they owned almost 5% of the market. Seven years later the Nikkei bottomed out 80% lower than the high. According to Nikkei, the publication, last year the BOJ was a net seller.

Here we are 34 years after the all-time high and the index it is almost back there again. Talk about stocks for the long run.

Let’s look at what’s going on across the East China Sea in Shanghai, China’s financial Capital.


China was a frontier market when Rogers drove his motorcycle across the country. It is now an emerging market. The Shanghai Composite, the benchmark stock index, was established in 1990. According to the IMF, foreign access to invest in Chinese companies was restricted until 2001 and then gradually opened up over the next eleven years.

As an aside: 1990 is the same year the first ETF in the world started trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange – the Toronto 35 Index Participation Units.

As the Nikkei is approaching all-time highs and the S&P 500 keeps notching new ones, the Shanghai Composite is not. It was down 9% year-to-date earlier this month before the authorities intervened.

The index has essentially gone nowhere for about 17 years. There have been moments of enthusiasm in between but it is still down 50% from the peak.

There have been repeated market interventions over the past ten years and more over the past few weeks. It is funny that the market rallied 9% as this was being written. That’s how these things go in markets.

Some of these interventions have been: jawboning to convince fund managers not to sell stock and short selling bans. As well, the head of the securities commission was replaced after a visit from Chairman Xi Jinping. That would have been an interesting meeting.

No one knows if any of this will matter. It took seven years for the Nikkei to put in its low after the BOJ first intervened.

Whatever happens in the stock market today has happened before and will happen again.
– Jesse Livermore, legendary trader whose story was told in the 1923 book Reminiscences of a Stock Operator.

Wrapping  Up

Our systems are based on proprietary measures of trends. Livermore was a trend follower. The difference in approach is, the ‘Boy Plunger’, as he was called, made and lost several fortunes in his life. He readily admitted he broke his own rules. Our systems are built to avoid prolonged bear markets. And being rules-based, we don’t break them as hard as that may be at times.

Japan, known as the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ is so named because that is China’s perspective. Japan had a boom and a long bust. China had a boom and at its peak the Shanghai Composite was up 5800% from inception. Will China be seeing things from Japan’s perspective for the next 17 years?

Regardless of what is going on in the stock market, China has a deep history. According to the American Historical Association: China has the longest continuous history of any country in the world—3,500 years… There are things we can learn, so over to Victoria for some information about traditional Chinese medicine.

Health Is Wealth

Honouring the Ancient Wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine

In my belief in integrated living and life plans, I’ve found that mind, body, and spirit are all interconnected, shaping the quality and longevity of our lives. One of my trusted colleagues regularly incorporates acupuncture into the treatment of athletic injuries with promising results, indicating its potential in holistic health approaches.

As we explore China and its economy this month, it’s fitting to shine a light on the profound wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and its lasting impact.

TCM emphasizes balance and harmony, offering a holistic path to wellness through practices like acupuncture, herbal medicine, Tai Chi, and Qigong. These ancient arts honor the interconnectedness of all aspects of our being.

Personalized care is a key aspect of TCM, with everyone’s unique constitution and health concerns taken into account. Through my own exploration of TCM, I’ve discovered the richness of its herbal remedies. While I may not have personal experience with specific ancient potions and pills like the “Eight Treasures Decoction” and “Dang Gui Bu Xue Tang,” I am fascinated by their historical significance and the potential they hold in supporting overall well-being. Indeed, scientific research has increasingly validated the efficacy of certain traditional Chinese herbal remedies. For example, studies have shown that compounds found in herbs like ginseng, astragalus, and reishi mushrooms possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-enhancing properties.

As we navigate the complexities of modern life, perhaps we will find answers and solutions in some of the most ancient approaches like those in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Just as we reflect on financial matters concerning China, it’s worth taking a moment to delve into TCM. An open mind is a strong mind.

‘You have to sustain it, to maintain it’

Victoria Bannister
ICM Health Ambassador

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