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Looking for investing ideas? Here’s your weekly digest of the Globe’s latest insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies plus what investors need to know for the week ahead.



Those dogs in your portfolio can save you at tax time

Did your bet on marijuana stocks blow up in your face? Do you own energy stocks – or other companies – that are deeply underwater? With the end of the year approaching, you may want to consider selling your dogs so that you can claim a capital loss for tax purposes, John Heinzl writes. Here he explores the tax-loss selling strategy in detail.

When you sell a stock for a capital loss, you can use the loss to offset realized capital gains and reduce the tax you ultimately have to pay. Any stock that has dropped in price since you bought it can be a candidate for tax-loss selling. This year, two sectors in particular – cannabis and energy – will probably see plenty of tax-loss selling given the hefty losses suffered by investors.

More from John Heinzl: Yield Hog model dividend growth portfolio as of Oct. 31, 2019

Also: Encana, Beyond Meat and more investing stars and dogs for the week

A high-yield stock for green investors

No one likes fossil-fuel stocks right now, Gordon Pape writes. The S&P/TSX Capped Energy Index, which is almost entirely composed of traditional oil and gas companies, is down about 24 per cent in the past 12 months. By contrast, the S&P Global Clean Energy Index is up about 33 per cent in the same period.

There are many green energy and infrastructure companies from which to choose but here’s one that I discovered only recently: Atlantica Yield PLC. The shares currently yield 6.9 per cent, and the company has a history of steadily raising its distributions. In fact, the payout has increased for nine consecutive quarters. This green energy and infrastructure portfolio is well diversified both geographically and in types of assets. Most of its revenue (75 per cent in the first half of this year) is from renewable energy.

What is an Ovintiv? Encana’s name change smacks of desperation

One of the enduring mysteries of stock markets is why companies insist on changing their names more often than fugitives in a witness-protection plan, Ian McGugan writes. Encana’s announcement on Thursday that it plans to relabel itself as Ovintiv Inc. is a particularly puzzling example. What is an Ovintiv anyway?

Whatever the clunky new name means, it puts Encana on trend. Over the past couple of decades, a steady stream of other high profile companies have also undergone an identity shift: Research In Motion transformed itself into BlackBerry, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International became Bausch Health., TransCanada morphed into TC Energy, and Penn West Petroleum awkwardly became known as Obsidian Energy.

The only common denominator? None of these new labels had any noticeable effect on the trajectory of their owners’ share prices.

More from Ian McGugan: Three forces that could jolt markets higher after two years of drifting

The Big Six banks are all on a roll, but National Bank is the sole big winner

Among Canada’s Big Six banks, just one is trading at a relatively high valuation: National Bank of Canada. And that gives the stock one extra hurdle to clear as the fiscal year ticks down, David Berman writes. Over all, the biggest banks are on a roll after rebounding from a selloff toward the end of 2018, with average gains of 13.3 per cent year-to-date. But National Bank, the smallest of the Big Six, stands out as the clear winner. This year, the stock is up 21.2 per cent (not including dividends), outperforming its peer average by a remarkable 7.9 percentage points.

The problem? The stock is no bargain. The shares trade at 10.8 times estimated earnings, according to Bloomberg. That’s higher than the 10-year average estimated price-to-earnings ratio of 10.2, according to data last week from RBC Dominion Securities. National Bank is the only big-bank stock with a valuation that exceeds its long-term average.

More from David Berman: Recent turbulence in Canadian telecom stocks offers opportunity for dividend-hungry investors

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Here’s the answer to the No. 1 question Rob Carrick receives about balanced ETFs

Balanced exchange-traded funds, also called asset allocation funds, bundle a diversified mix of underlying ETFs into a single product. The No. 1 question personal finance columnist Rob Carrick is asked about these ETFs is: Does the posted management expense ratio include the MERs for the underlying funds, or do those fees apply as well? The answer is that the posted MER includes the cost of the ETFs in the portfolio. In fact, securities regulations prohibit the duplication of MERs.

Why are investors unclear about the duplication of MERs when it shouldn’t even be an issue? Because of the investment industry’s long history of secretiveness, even furtiveness, about fees and disclosure. ETF companies broadly do good work in fee disclosure, but they’re not perfect. Here he addresses more ETF fee-related issues.

More from Rob Carrick: Canada’s biggest bank teaches young clients a lesson on trusting big banks

What investors need to know for the week ahead

It’s another busy week ahead for corporate earnings. The companies releasing their latest results include: Enbridge, Algonquin Power, Barrick, Manulife, Sun Life, Power Financial, Canadian Tire, Hydro One, Telus, Magna, Linamar, Pizza Pizza, Walt Disney, SIR Royalty Income Fund, Franco-Nevada, Gibson Energy, Great Canadian Gaming, Nutrien, Obsidian Energy, Dream Industrial REIT, Indigo, Finning, Morneau Shepell, Newmont Goldcorp and Pengrowth.

Economic data on tap include: U.S. factory orders for September (Monday); Canadian merchandise trade deficit and U.S. goods and services trade deficit for September (Tuesday); China’s trade surplus for October and Bank of England’s monetary policy announcement (Thursday); Canada’s employment numbers and housing starts for October, as well as building permits for September (Friday).

Looking for more investing ideas and opinions?

Seven dos and don’ts before the next recession hits

A dividend stock that’s rallied 9% or more after reporting for the past 3 quarters

Wall Street’s leading stocks reveal investor caution

Calculate your life: The Globe and Mail tools you’ll need for home buying, investing and retirement

How to invest a cash windfall

Why I think Canada will avoid a recession next year and the loonie will outperform

Year-end tax strategies that business owners need to consider

Andrew Scheer is renouncing his U.S. citizenship. Here’s what Americans living in Canada should know

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