March 2024 – Homers

Andrew McDermott

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.

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March 2024: Homers

In this issue:

  • Global Equity Market Performance
  • Homers
  • The Big Five
  • Homers II
  • Leapsters
  • Wrapping Up
  • Health is Wealth

Global Equity Market Performance

The four global equity market indexes we track were all higher in February.

The S&P 500 had a huge month up 5.3% along with MSCI Emerging Markets at 5.1%. MSCI EAFE closed 3.8% higher and the S&P/TSX60 was a distant fourth at plus 1.8%.

We have discussed the performance of Canada versus the U.S. in prior notes. Much of it is related to the technology weight in the S&P 500. There is another differentiator in the two indexes that we will look into further 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 .


One thing we see with Canadian investors is they tend to be overweight Canada. That is not surprising. It is common across the globe. It makes intuitive sense to own things you are familiar with. This is called ‘home bias’.

Canada accounts for roughly 3% of global market capitalization. Depending on the source, Canadian investors hold around 55% of their portfolios in local stocks. That difference, 52%, is a measure of home bias. It is third behind Australia and Japan. Maybe the latter two make sense. They are islands. But we live next door to the largest equity market on the planet.

One thing that may account for this is that Canadian investors love their banks. Not that they love them as customers. As customers we are fully aware of their profitability. But as investors we like profits and some, the steady stream of dividends banks provide.

A question we get: why are the banks performing so poorly? That is a difficult question to address and is not something we focus our research on. However, we can look at where this is coming from.

The Big Five

Of the ‘Big Five’ only two are up on the year and the only one that is outperforming the S&P/TSX 60 is Scotiabank. All of the above are underperforming the S&P 500 by a significant amount.

Scotiabank prides itself on being more international than its Canadian counterparts. In this case, its relative lack of home bias may be paying off.

Or maybe it’s hockey. Just kidding.

On February 16 at Scotiabank Arena the ‘Battle on Bay Street’ happened. PWHL Montreal was in town to play Toronto. This was a much hyped event that lived up to the hype. It set a record for the most people ever to watch a women’s hockey game. Very cool that 19,850 fans sold-out the arena the Maple Leafs play in, a few weeks ahead of International Women’s Day.

Stocks have gone up for stranger reasons than that.

Back to the topic at hand.

The S&P/TSX 60 is 34% financials and 9% technology. The S&P 500 is only 13% financials and 30% tech. Technology is on fire. Banks, not so much. Since Canadians are overweight Canadian stocks and the S&P/TSX 60 is dominated by banks the action south of the border might be causing envy in certain circles.

Investors can take comfort in the fact that two regional banks in the U.S. collapsed last year and so far in 2024 the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF is down 8%. Also, by simply writing about the relative performance of China versus Japan in last month’s note, we sparked a 9% rally in the Shanghai Composite that has since tacked on another 7.5%.

Homers II

A few lessons from this follow. We don’t pick stocks. We invest in indexes. One reason being: you are just as likely to make money buying bank stocks based on a cool hockey game as you are to lose it because you like the BMO ads.

While we are overweight Canada we are not as overweight as the average portfolio. And by our definition, the S&P/TSX 60 is in a solid up trend. Until it is not. And when that is the case we will sell.

More than half of the equities we own are global in nature despite being U.S. based. We also have a core holding in the True Exposure Exogenous Risk Pool, which we designed. It invests in major U.S. equity and sector indexes.

Diversification by region, sector and strategy is how we try to mitigate risk.

In related work, we like to test and study things that are considered common market knowledge. Sometimes these are supported by the data and sometimes not. So let’s look at Leap Years, which are supposed to be bad.


According to the interwebs, people who are born on February 29 are called Leaplings, Leapers, or Leapsters. Leaplings sounds a bit demeaning, like a sapling isn’t a tree. Leapers, well, no comment, this is a market letter. Let’s stick with Leapsters. Odds of holding Leapster status are one in 1,460. What are the odds the market will be up?

As an aside: on February 29, 2020, the only tie ever in a FIS Alpine Snowboard World Cup happened at Blue Mountain. Then the world shut down and markets collapsed. There was no race this year because there is no snow. What that means for Mister Market is anyone’s guess.

There have been some brutal leap year markets – 2008 and 2020 come to mind. 2020 ended up fine due to unprecedented intervention – quite the ride, nonetheless.

But when you look at the data going back to 1928, there is not a significant difference in the average return. For all years it is 7.9%. For Leapster market years it is 7.5%. Same with the median return at 11.1% versus 10.7%, respectively.

The idea is not supported by the data so we will have to look for something else next year to explain what happened in 2024, up or down.

Wrapping  Up

While writing this, one of our resident music nerd’s favourite musicians sailed on to other places. Karl Wallinger was a member of The Waterboys before he formed World Party.

Ship of Fools was one of their biggest hits.

Save me, save me from tomorrow
I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools, no, no

There is market advice in there even if that wasn’t the direct focus. On a related note, over to Victoria on embracing discomfort.

Health Is Wealth

Embracing Discomfort: The Key to Longevity, Fulfillment, and Everyday Success
In my journey as a fitness professional, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of embracing discomfort. It’s not just about pushing physical boundaries in the gym or challenging mental limits—it’s about adopting a holistic approach to well-being that extends beyond the confines of our comfort zone.

Consider the concept of Longevity, as articulated by Peter Attia in his book Outlive. Attia emphasizes the importance of focusing on our health span rather than just our lifespan. It’s about maximizing the number of healthy, vibrant years we have on this earth, and that requires a willingness to confront discomfort head-on.

One of the most inspiring examples of this mindset comes from David Goggins, a former Navy SEAL and ultramarathon runner. In his interview with Andrew Huberman, Goggins speaks of the battle of “you against you” and the need to embrace discomfort to reach our true potential. He talks about confronting “the suck part,” the most challenging and uncomfortable aspects of life, as the key to unlocking greatness.

But embracing discomfort isn’t just about pushing physical limits; it’s about cultivating resilience in all aspects of life. This is where the concept of Blue Zones comes into play. These are regions of the world where people live significantly longer and healthier lives than the global average. What sets them apart? Strong social connections, a sense of purpose, and a commitment to healthy habits—all of which require stepping outside our comfort zone.

In my own practice, I’ve seen clients transform their lives by embracing discomfort in pursuit of their goals. Whether it’s adopting a new exercise routine, committing to a healthier diet, or prioritizing self-care, each step outside the comfort zone brings them closer to their ideal selves.

But let’s be real, change isn’t easy. It requires confronting our fears, overcoming obstacles, and pushing through discomfort. It’s about recognizing that growth happens outside our comfort zone and being willing to lean into the friction.

As Goggins says, nothing changes if nothing changes. If we want to live longer, healthier, more fulfilling lives, we must be willing to challenge ourselves, to push beyond our perceived limits, and to embrace the discomfort that comes with growth.

And science is now backing this up. Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman discusses in his podcast how challenging our brains by tackling the tough stuff, getting outside our comfort zones, actually expands our brain. It’s not just about physical growth—it’s about mental growth too.

So, what does this mean for us? It means taking a hard look at our habits, our routines, and our mindset. It means being honest with ourselves about where we’re falling short and committing to making meaningful changes. It means stepping outside our comfort zone, again and again, knowing that each moment of discomfort brings us closer to our goals.

In the end, embracing discomfort is not just about reaching our physical peak or achieving our wildest dreams—it’s about living a life of purpose, vitality, and fulfillment. It’s about seizing each day as an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to become the best version of ourselves. And that, in my opinion, is the true essence of longevity.

‘You have to sustain it, to maintain it’

Victoria Bannister
ICM Health Ambassador

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