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Investment Ideas Why investors need to pay attention to gender equity, a toy stock that could rally, and the big winners of the bull market

When this bull market was born 10 years ago, just one of the most valuable companies in the market was a technology stock. Now, it’s four out of five.

Back in March, 2009, the biggest companies were familiar names with long histories in traditional industries such as oil (Exxon Mobil Corp.) and makers of detergent and other household products (Procter & Gamble Co.).

There is, however, one company that’s among the most valuable today that was also among the Big Five back then: Microsoft Corp.

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These days, technology companies dominate the top five, as they do the market overall. After Microsoft, there’s Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. At the beginning of the bull market, Apple’s iPhone was just two years old and Google had just released its Android operating system for smartphones.

Today, the iPhone accounts for most of Apple’s revenue, helping Apple to become the first publicly traded company worth more than US$1-trillion last year. Amazon quickly followed suit. Both now trade well below that level, and jockey with Microsoft for the most-valuable U.S. company title with valuations of about US$800-million or higher.

The explosion of value in those four stocks reflects the great amount of cultural influence, wealth and power that has been accumulated by big technology companies over the past 10 years.

And Facebook, which didn’t even become a publicly traded company until 2012, today is the No. 6 most valuable company in the United States with a valuation of nearly US$500-billion.

The roster of the most valuable companies at the bull market’s birth is a window into what the economy looked like a decade ago: Exxon Mobil, Walmart Inc., Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and AT&T Inc..

Those companies are hardly out of the picture today. They’re all among 25 most valuable U.S. companies, and all but AT&T are in the prestigious 30-member club of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. And they’ve all had their share of change. For instance, Walmart has gotten heavily into online sales, and AT&T bought the media giant Time Warner.

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-- The Associated Press

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Stocks to ponder

Spin Master Corp. (TOY-T). This stock currently has a Relative Strength Index (RSI) below the buy signal of 30 and Scott Barlow chose to look at it as the focus of this week’s most oversold and overbought stocks on the TSX. Spin Master is a toy manufacturer that opened for trading in July of 2015. As it turns out, the technical patterns for Spin Master are straightforward – RSI buy signals were highly effective when the price was above or close to the 200-day moving average trend line, and stopped working when the price fell below. Spin Master’s price fell below the 200-day moving average in October 2018 and has remained there since. There were a series of buy signals in October, November and December afterwards that failed to result in significant rallies. There could be a compelling fundamental case for Spin Master to rally from here. (For subscribers).

The Rundown

See how badly Canada’s top public companies score on gender equality - and why investors may pay the price

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Canada’s top public companies significantly lag their U.S. and global peers when it comes to gender equality in the workplace, according to new research, and risk losing investor confidence if improvements aren’t made. The research from Equileap, a non-profit based in Amsterdam that tracks corporate gender equality, says companies on the S&P/TSX 60 scored an average of 23 per cent in their rankings, which are based on 19 different criteria. That compares with an average score of 45 per cent for companies listed on the S&P 100 in the United States. The average percentage score among the top 200 global companies Equileap identified as leading the way for gender equality was 53 per cent. Brenda Bouw reports (for subscribers).

Women will have $4-trillion to invest in the next decade. Is the industry ready?

Female investors are on track to manage more than $4-trillion over the next decade, prompting the financial-services industry to rethink the way investment advisers conduct business. Currently, Canadian women directly control approximately $2.2-trillion of personal financial assets, a number that will grow by more than 70 per cent by 2028, according to a report released this week by CIBC World Markets Inc. “For the wealth-management profession, this won’t be business as usual,” say CIBC economists Benjamin Tal and Katherine Judge, co-authors of the report “The Changing Landscape of Women’s Wealth.” Clare O’Hara reports.

Bond yields just broke below a key support level - but its impact on selecting a mortgage is not what you may think

Choosing between a fixed- or floating-rate mortgage never boils down to just one thing. But when the rate difference between the two is tiny, people often make it that way. As the spread between fixed and variable rates shrinks, fixed mortgages seem cheaper relative to variables and can appear too good to pass up. People figure, “Why risk a spike in prime rate when you can take a cheap five-year fixed and guarantee your interest costs for half a decade?” But the fixed-variable spread is all too easy to misinterpret. If history is a guide, placing too much emphasis on it may very well cost you. Robert McLister explains (for subscribers).

Others (for subscribers)

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These five women-led companies rank highly for sustainable dividends

HSBC slashes Canadian growth outlook

Here’s what a portfolio built on sector outperformance looks like

Friday’s Insider Report: Presidents are buying these three stocks

Friday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades

Others (for everyone)

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Canadian dollar rallies on jobs surge as bets slashed on Bank of Canada rate cut

Montreal software firm Lightspeed jumps in its TSX debut

National Beverage’s shares dive 20 per cent after poor sales, CEO cries ‘injustice’

U.S. Lipper Award winners bet big on Brexit, global slowdown

Housing shares dependent on economy easing but not falling

Ask Globe Investor

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Question: If I add the iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF (DGRO) in a registered or non-registered account, will there be any U.S. withholding tax?

Answer: If you hold DGRO in a non-registered account, a 15-per-cent U.S. withholding tax will apply to the distributions. You will also have to pay Canadian tax at your full marginal rate on the distributions, although you can usually claim the tax withheld as a foreign tax credit. If you hold DGRO in a registered retirement savings plan, RRIF or other registered retirement plan, on the other hand, there will be no U.S. withholding tax and no Canadian tax payable on the distributions. This is why I recommend that investors hold U.S.-listed dividend ETFs, and U.S.-listed dividend stocks, in a registered retirement account. But be careful: You will still face the U.S. withholding tax if you hold DGRO in a tax-free savings account or registered education savings plan. (DGRO is one of the securities in my model Yield Hog Dividend Growth Portfolio. View it online at tgam.ca/dividendportfolio.)

--John Heinzl

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What’s up in the days ahead

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the bull market. We’ll take stock on who saw it coming, just as markets were bottoming.

Click here to see the Globe Investor earnings and economic news calendar.

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Compiled by Gillian Livingston

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