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1. Interest rates
The Bank of Canada can raise or lower interest rates to stabilize or stimulate the Canadian economy. This is known as monetary policy. If a company borrows money to expand and improve its business, higher interest rates will affect the cost of its debt. This can reduce company profits and the dividends it pays shareholders. As a result, its share price may drop. And, in times of higher interest rates, investments that pay interest tend to be more attractive to investors than stocks.
2. Economic outlook
If it looks like the economy is going to expand, stock prices may rise. Investors may buy more stocks thinking they will see future profits and higher stock prices. If the economic outlook is uncertain, investors may reduce their buying or start selling.
Inflation means higher consumer prices. This often slows sales and reduces profits. Higher prices will also often lead to higher interest rates. For example, the Bank of Canada may raise interest rates to slow down inflation. These changes will tend to bring down stock prices. Commodities however, may do better with inflation, so their prices may rise.
Falling prices tend to mean lower profits for companies and decreased economic activity. Stock prices may go down, and investors may start selling their shares and move to fixed-income investments like bonds. Interest rates may be lowered to encourage people to borrow more. The goal is increased spending and economic activity. The Great Depression (1929-1939) was one of the worst periods of deflation ever.
5. Economic and political shocks
Changes around the world can affect both the economy and stock prices. For example, a rise in energy costs can lead to lower sales, lower profits and lower stock prices. An act of terrorism can also lead to a downturn in economic activity and a fall in stock prices.
6. Changes in economic policy
If a new government comes into power, it may decide to make new policies. Sometimes these changes can be seen as good for business, and sometimes not. They may lead to changes in inflation and interest rates, which in turn may affect stock prices.
7. The value of the Canadian dollar
Many Canadian companies sell products to buyers in other countries. If the Canadian dollar rises, their customers will have to spend more to buy Canadian goods. This can drive down sales, which in turn can lead to lower stock prices. When the price of the Canadian dollar falls, it makes it cheaper for others to buy our products. This can make stock prices rise.
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