Canadian Stocks are a Good Hedge Against U.S. Turmoil. And Your Best Bets are the Biggest Companies.
One of the generally accepted wisdoms over the past couple of years has been that the U.S. stock market is where the action is. But relative performance of ex-U.S. markets is showing that’s no longer the case. There are market-beating returns available to those investors willing to step abroad. And one of the easiest steps to take is just over the border with our neighbor to the north, Canada. For the modestly adventurous investor, I think there are quite a few Canadian blue-chip stocks worth a look right now.
Buying Canadian stocks, particularly well-known Canadian blue-chip stocks, is a relatively easy pitch to U.S. investors, in my view, especially to those that live within a day’s drive of the border. It’s a stable, developed economy and an established trading partner. While there are certainly a lot of differences between the U.S. and Canada, the country is friendly both for travel (under normal, non-pandemic circumstances) and investment, and many Canadian stocks have considerable exposure to the U.S. economy.
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With that in mind, here are three Canadian blue-chip stocks that look particularly good right now:
3 Canadian Blue-Chip Stocks
Canadian Blue-Chip Stock #1: Canadian Pacific Railway (CP)
Market cap: $47 billion
Year-to-date return: 3.5%
Transportation was a key focus of the new, NAFTA-replacing trade agreement – namely Canadian and Mexican automakers, which were granted exemptions from future tariffs on up to 2.6 million vehicles exported to the U.S. It didn’t say anything about railroad companies, which is what Canadian Pacific Railway is (as you might have guessed). And perhaps no news is good news: CP shares have recovered quite well from the March 2020 global market crash, more than doubling in the nearly 15 months since; and the dent in the company’s sales wasn’t too damaging, with revenues expected to be up 36% this year and another 7.4% next year.
CP may not be benefiting from the new trade agreement. But it’s a strong stock that has been building a nice-looking base for the past month-plus, perhaps primed for a big upwards breakout should the market shake off its late-summer malaise in the next week or two.
Canadian Blue-Chip Stock #2: Lululemon Athletica (LULU)
Market cap: $55 billion
Year-to-date return: 17.3%
We don’t think of Lululemon as a Canadian company. But it was founded in Vancouver in 1998, and it’s still based there. The athletic apparel company best known for its yoga wear was coming off its best year for sales growth since 2012 and best year for profit growth since 2011. Then the pandemic hit, taking a bite out of both top and bottom line. But with analysts expecting much bigger things in the quarters ahead, LULU stock has recovered quite well since the March 2020 crash, despite some weakness earlier this year. It has more than doubled since the March 2020 bottom, and has been one of the few growth stocks truly breaking out this summer, hitting new all-time highs in July before settling into a narrow trading range in August. That’s a bullish chart pattern for those looking to buy.
Canadian Blue-Chip Stock #3: Shopify (SHOP)
Market cap: $190 billion
Year-to-date return: 35%
SHOP was the top pick of 2017 by our growth investing expert Mike Cintolo. And the stock showed remarkable resilience in 2018 (+37%) after getting dinged by short-selling research firm Citron, which called the Canadian stock a “get rich quick scheme,” and put a price target of 60 on it (50% below its share price at the time). Instead, shares of Shopify currently trade right at 1,529 (!), and its e-commerce platform continues to attract thousands of small- and mid-sized businesses in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere. Along with PayPal (PYPL) and Square (SQ), Shopify helps smaller players take advantage of selling online. And the company has multiple avenues of growth: subscription revenue for using the product, a cut of gross merchandise sales from its customers and some newer capital offerings like cash advances.
Because it’s all online, Shopify isn’t dependent on improved synergies between the U.S. and Canada – and more importantly, it’s Covid-resistant. Sales are expected to improve 58% this year and 34% next year. As a result, investors continue to pour into SHOP stock.
This year’s run-up has pushed Shopify past struggling Royal Bank of Canada (RY) as the largest Canadian company by market cap. Buy on dips. But right now, there’s no better Canadian blue-chip stock to own than SHOP.
Investment analyst and Chief Analyst of Cabot Wealth Daily, Chris Preston brings you all the latest from the investing world. Sign up to get updates and breaking news delivered FREE to your inbox. Get unlimited access to our library of complimentary investing reports.Sign up now!
*This post has been updated from an original version published in 2017.