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Call 2020 the year of hothouse investing.

Stuck at home in the pandemic, a lot of people noticed the stock market’s massive U-turn in the spring and decided to dive in. Both the human and digital sides of the investing business were swamped by people eager to invest. What stocks caught the eye of these hothouse investors? Some data provided by provide some answers.

As much as Big Tech, biotech, AI and green energy have captivated investors lately, it’s the traditional stock-market favourites that resonated most. A Globeinvestor tally of the stocks that generated the most quotes by users includes five banks in the Top 10, plus Air Canada, Enbridge and a pair of resource companies, Suncor Energy and Interfor Corp. The lone new-economy name on the list is Aurora Cannabis.

Here, in order of popularity, are the Top 10 most sought-after TSX-listed stocks for quotes on in 2020:

  • Air Canada (AC)
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)
  • Enbridge (ENB)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RY)
  • Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS)
  • Suncor Energy (SU)
  • Aurora Cannabis (ACB)
  • Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  • Interfor Corp. (IFP)
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM)

The next 10 stocks showed a somewhat higher level of new-old economy diversity:

  • BCE Inc. (BCE)
  • Shopify (SHOP)
  • Canopy Growth Corp. (WEED)
  • Manulife Financial (MFC)
  • Aphria (APHA)
  • Telus (T)
  • Lightspeed POS (LSPD)
  • Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ)
  • Algonquin Power & Utilities (AQN)
  • Vermilion Energy (VET)

Now for a look at the stock-market sectors that generated the most quotes. Again, note the traditionalist slant.

  • Financial services - 15.2 per cent
  • Mining - 13.3 per cent
  • Energy - 10 per cent
  • Industrials - 10 per cent
  • Life sciences - 9.6 per cent
  • Consumer products - 8 per cent
  • Technology - 7.7 per cent
  • Utilities & pipelines - 6.7 per cent
  • Exchange-traded products - 6.2 per cent
  • Real estate - 4.7 per cent

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

She stocked up on toilet paper – and it turned out to be one-ply

People have been buying all kinds of stuff while physically distancing at home. Here’s a fun look at some of our dud purchases, including a jumbo pack of what turned out to be utility-grade toilet paper.

How many stars does your bank account rate?

The HowToSaveMoney website has created a database of 173 financial-product reviews – bank accounts, mortgages, GICs and more. This is notable because as far as I’m aware, no one has ever invested the time to review basic, everyday financial products. The question to ask when you see financial websites discussing products is whether they’re being financially rewarded in some way. Here’s what Stephen Weyman, founder and co-CEO of HowToSaveMoney says about this: “We’re reviewing a wide range of products using an editorial process that is independent of compensation and then allowing people to leave their own reviews as well to make sure all perspectives are considered and anything we missed can get pointed out by Canadians. The way we (hopefully) make some money is by sprinkling a few more buttons around for people to open an account or get a quote if we have a partnership with the company, but it doesn’t change the information or the review.”

A look at life after COVID

A doctor who studies the impact of pandemics predicts a new “roaring 20s” when the pandemic ends – lots of socializing and spending. But not everyone will benefit.

The city where rents will jump in 2021

While the housing market took off in 2020, rents in some big cities fell sharply. What’s ahead for rents? More weakness, with only Montreal standing apart in terms of its strength. “There is clearly no urban exodus in Montreal.”

Guest Q&A

Laura Paris, associate lawyer at Shulman & Partners LLP, is on hand today to talk about the money secrets that spouses and partners keep from each other. Ms. Paris practices family law, which encompasses all issues arising from spousal relationships.

Q: Can give us an overview of how money secrets play out in your legal practice?

A: Financial secrets are one of the main issues we see that not only drive parties to separate but also prolong and complicate the actual separation process. This is typically a result of spouses seeking to undervalue or hide their assets and income. We often see these situations arise in relationships where one party maintained full financial control during the relationship, leaving the other party in the dark with respect to the family’s financials. We also see these situations arise where one party is self-employed and has structured their finances in a manner to appear of lesser value than they actually are.

Q: The pandemic has worsened stress levels all around have you noticed more couples coming into conflict over money secrets?

A: The pandemic has revealed, more than anything, that many families were living paycheque-to-paycheque and were not financially prepared to weather temporary layoffs, medical leaves, unemployment, increased child-care costs, etc. As a result, hidden debts came to surface when parties were seeking alternative credit facilities to help maintain their expenses. These secrets, while not always malicious, have put significant strain on families and led many to consider separation following the onset of the pandemic.

Q: What are some of the warning signs your spouse has a financial secret?

A: Generally speaking, giving one spouse full control over a family’s finances will lead to some form of financial secrets – whether malicious or not. That said, a spouse unwilling to share certain financial details, or exerting significant control over finances, could be a warning sign that something is being hidden.

Q: What can you tell use about hiding assets, rather than debts?

A: In my experience, we primarily see hidden assets in cases where a spouse is the owner of one or more corporations. In such instances, you often see spouses seeking to reduce or hide assets by way of the manner in which they structured their corporation. For example, some spouses will list their parents or other family members as shareholders of their corporation in order to take the position that they only own part of the corporation, despite the fact that that spouse fully funded and acted as the controlling mind of the corporation. In other circumstances, particularly where one spouse is completely in the dark as to the family finances, the ‘controlling’ spouse may move money around in contemplation of separation, which could only be revealed through a historical review of bank records.

Q: What would you advise people do prior to getting married or moving in together to ensure they have a good understanding of their partner’s financial situation?

A: Be involved and informed. It’s not uncommon for one party to be more financially savvy than the other, or one spouse to naturally fall into the role of taking care of the family finances. While there is nothing wrong with this, it should not mean that one spouse is completely left out of all financial transactions and decisions. When entering into a relationship of permanence, make sure you have the same financial goals. If there are ventures you wish to take on together do it together, and take responsibility for what is yours. There is only so much you can do to gain access to another person’s personal finances, and that ultimately is going to come down to trust. Try to refrain from putting your financial future and assets in someone else’s hands.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

A ranking of credit cards in 26 categories, including best for cash-back, best no-fee card, best for Air Miles collectors and more.

The money-free zone

For avid readers: The Literacy Hub. Proof there’s a world beyond COVID-19 and U.S. politics.


What I’ve been writing about
  • A lot of optimism is built into the price of stocks and housing – what’s your plan if things don’t work out? (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
  • Schooled by the coronavirus pandemic, financial planners offer their No. 1 piece of advice for the year ahead (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
  • The exclusive club of dividend stocks that at least doubled their payouts in the past 10 years (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)

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Tickers mentioned in this story

Study and track financial data on any traded entity: click to open the full quote page. Data updated as of 20/02/24 4:00pm EST.

SymbolName% changeLast
Air Canada
Toronto-Dominion Bank
Enbridge Inc
Royal Bank of Canada
Bank of Nova Scotia
Suncor Energy Inc
Aurora Cannabis Inc
Bank of Montreal
Interfor Corp
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Shopify Inc
Canopy Growth Corp
Manulife Fin
Telus Corp
Lightspeed Commerce Inc.
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp
Vermilion Energy Inc

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