February 2018 Update


Trying to Escape the Cold and Snow

Winter in Victoria

A bitter cold, snow-filled Calgary winter had us wanting to escape.  Due to heath insurance issues, we could not go south this year, so we picked Victoria, BC, as the warmest (relatively) Canadian city in winter.  The day we arrived they had a rare blizzard, leaving us no better than if we stayed home.  Fortunately within two days the weather improved to normal.


February Results

What a ride!!.  How about that dip at the end?  See the next section for a more thorough discussion of market ups and downs.

The Canadian market was down over 3% for the month and almost 5% for the first two months.  My Canadian portfolio matched almost exactly the TSX.

The US markets were down about 4% for the month bringing the YTD gains to between 1% and 1.5%.  My US portfolio was just below the markets for the month and is about 1% below the markets, YTD.

My total portfolio was down about 3 1/2% on the month and YTD not counting foreign exchange fluctuations.  However, the strengthening US dollar brought my portfolio to about a 2% loss both for the month and YTD.

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January 2018 Update


Volume II

2005 and 2006

Read about years 3 and 4 in the United Arab Emirates

Volume I is available in hard copy and Kindle.  Volume II is available in hard copy with the Kindle version coming out sometime in February.  Volume III and IV are in progress, and will conclude our time in the UAE at the end of 2010.  There will be at least two additional volumes describing our time the Doha, Qatar from 2011 to 2014.


January Results

It was a great month!! It was a terrible month!! Both statements are true,  and both statements are false – depending on where you have your money.  The Canadian market had a dismal January with the TSX down about 1.6%.  However the US market continued its streak with a gain of over 5 1/2%. Another downside for Canadian investors was that any money you have in the US markets lost an additional 2% because of the stronger Canadian dollar (falling US dollar),

With 40% of my investments in US stocks (35% without FX), I received almost the full effect of the strong US market, but lost almost half of that gain due to the increase in the Canadian dollar.  The Canadian blue chips lost more than the general market, resulting in my Canadian portfolio losing more than the TSX.  But given the exceptional performance of my Canadian portfolio in 2017, I can handle a one month set back.

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December 2017 Update


What was it like?

Volume I of our life in the Middle East

Documenting our adventures – we lived in the Middle East from 2003 to 2014.  I am publishing a full account of our experiences in the form of our blog entries made at the time.  Volume I (2003-2004) is now available.  Hopefully I will get the next volumes published throughout the first half of 2018.

As a New Year’s gift to readers, this book is available FREE on Kindle on January 6 and January 7.  Just click the picture above to take you there.

All of my other books will be available FREE on Kindle at various times during January 2018:



December 2017 Results

My Canadian portfolio was just behind the TSX with a small gain of just over 1/2 % with the market gaining almost 1%.  However my YTD result, at 10.75%, was well ahead of the TSX annual gain of 6%.

My US portfolio beat the two US indexes at 2 1/4% in December.  My YTD was a respectable 16.85% but behind the hot US markets of 20 to 25%.

Excluding the effects of the strengthened Canadian dollar,  my YTD combined portfolio gained almost 12 1/2%.  However the stronger Canadian dollar reduces my overall gain to 10.75% – still not too bad.  This is in keeping with my long term average annual gain of about 10%.

My net worth is now 16 1/2% above what it was on my retirement date of June 18, 2014.

TSX 0.88% 6.03%
DJIA 1.84% 25.08%
S&P 0.98% 19.42%
BB CDN 0.54% 10.43%
BB US 2.24% 16.87%
BB Total (no FX) 1.09% 12.43%
BB Total (incl FX) 0.24% 10.75%


My Portfolio Performance – 2017

Following is the performance of my holdings during 2017 (Canadian stocks on the left, US stocks on the right)

Symbol Total Chg % Symbol Total Chg %
BCE.TO 4.05% BA 89.43%
BIP-UN.TO 25.12% CSCO 26.74%
BMO.TO 4.16% CVX 6.36%
BNS.TO 6.57% IBM -7.57%
CM.TO 12.61% INTC 27.27%
ENB.TO -12.99% JNJ 21.27%
FTS.TO 11.22% KO 10.66%
MFC.TO 9.17% MRK -4.42%
NA.TO (sold) 0.81% NVS 15.27%
PPL.TO 8.64% PEG 17.60%
PWF.TO 2.92% PEP 14.61%
RY.TO 12.96% PG 9.28%
SJR-B.TO 5.99% QCOM (sold) 0.79%
SLF.TO 0.64% T -8.58%
SU.TO 5.13% TOT 8.84%
T.TO 11.39% VZ -0.84%
TD.TO 11.22% XOM -4.00%
TRP.TO 1.06% PFE 10.58%


Tracking Your Portfolio

The best place to track your portfolio performance is likely by using your online investment service (Internaxx, RBC Direct Investing, etc.).  If you have more than one account, requiring more than one login (eg accounts for each spouse, or domestic and offshore accounts), it can sometimes be a bit awkward to get daily or weekly updates on your portfolio performance.  It is not necessary to track your performance daily or weekly, but I’ll bet there are lots of you do it anyway – I do.

I set up my portfolio on publicly available investment tracking sites such as Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, MSN money, etc.  I know many others do the same.  My favourite was Google Finance, but Google decided to drop this feature in November 2017, so I had to consider other options.  I started using another Google feature – Google Sheets.


It is an online spreadsheet, similar to Excel, that allows you to link directly to the markets and updates quotes and indexes in real time.  It is a free service and has an app that you can download to your phone or tablet.  Once set up, which requires a bit of effort, you can do quick and easy checks of your portfolio in total and by individual stock.


Banking in the Middle East

For those of you who do your banking in the Middle East you may want to double check your banking arrangements.  The UAE and Qatar have received a reduced status relative to international banking and it may affect your ability to transfer your money to other countries. When I was there and doing my investing in Luxembourg, I was restricted to using HSBC, CitiBank, or Standard Chartered.  Here are a couple of articles that highlights blacklisted and grey-listed countries.






On Line Brokers for the Middle East

A reader in Saudi has provided another trading option for those of you living in GCC countries.  Swissquote


It appears to be an acceptable trading platform but there are mixed reviews on its forex trading – but you shouldn’t be active in forex trading.  The stock platform seems OK.  Here is one review:



Suggested Stocks (Positive dividend growth and dividend yield above 2%)


Company Ticker Financial Strength  Dividend Yield  Dividend Growth 10-Year
3M Company MMM A++            2.00            9.00
Air Products & Chem. APD A++            2.33          10.00
AT&T Inc. T A++            5.14            4.00
Automatic Data Proc. ADP A++            2.15          11.50
Boeing BA A++            2.32          13.00
Bristol-Myers Squibb BMY A++            2.60            3.00
Chevron Corp. CVX A++            3.51            9.00
Coca-Cola KO A++            3.38            9.00
CVS Health CVS A++            2.68          25.50
Emerson Electric EMR A++            2.79            7.50
Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM A++            3.72            9.50
Franklin Resources BEN A++            2.10          16.00
Grainger (W.W.) GWW A++            2.18          17.00
Home Depot HD A++            2.21          17.50
Infosys Ltd. ADR INFY A++            2.11          14.50
Int’l Business Mach. IBM A++            4.16          19.00
Intel Corp. INTC A++            2.33          12.50
Johnson & Johnson JNJ A++            2.47            8.50
Kimberly-Clark KMB A++            3.23            7.00
Lilly (Eli) LLY A++            2.63            3.00
Lockheed Martin LMT A++            2.59          19.00
McDonald’s Corp. MCD A++            2.35          16.50
Medtronic plc MDT A++            2.31          15.00
Merck & Co. MRK A++            3.39            2.00
Novartis AG ADR NVS A++            3.26          12.50
Novo Nordisk ADR NVO A++            2.06          28.00
PepsiCo, Inc. PEP A++            2.77          10.50
Pfizer, Inc. PFE A++            3.75            3.50
Procter & Gamble PG A++            3.01            8.50
Public Serv. Enterprise PEG A++            3.49            3.50
Schlumberger Ltd. SLB A++            2.95          16.00
Smucker (J.M.) SJM A++            2.53          10.00
Texas Instruments TXN A++            2.38          29.50
Total ADR TOT A++            5.28            3.50
Travelers Cos. TRV A++            2.14            9.50
Unilever PLC ADR UL A++            2.97            5.50
United Technologies UTX A++            2.20          11.50
Verizon Communic. VZ A++            4.45            3.50
Wal-Mart Stores WMT A++            2.10          12.50


Company Ticker Domicile Code  Financial Strength  Dividend Yield  Dividend Growth 10-Year
Agrium, Inc. AGU CA  A            3.34         40.50
Bank of Montreal BMO.TO CA  B++            3.68           5.50
Bank of Nova Scotia BNS.TO CA  A            3.93           6.50
BCE Inc. BCE CA  B++            4.86           7.00
Cameco Corp. CCO.TO CA  B+            3.19         12.50
Can. Imperial Bank CM.TO CA  A+            4.31           5.00
Can. National Railway CNI CA  A            2.02         16.00
Can. Natural Res. CNQ.TO CA  B+            2.73         22.50
Canadian Tire ‘A’ CTCA.TO CA  A            2.19         14.00
Cogeco Communic. CCA.TO CA  B++            2.14         25.00
Emera Inc. EMA.TO CA  B+            4.80           7.00
Enbridge Inc. ENB.TO CA  B++            5.44         13.00
Finning Int’l FTT.TO CA  B+            2.43         12.00
Fortis Inc. FTS.TO CA  B+            3.75           9.00
Jean Coutu Group PJC/A.TO CA  B++            2.13         16.00
Magna Int’l ‘A’ MGA CA  A            2.08           9.00
Manulife Fin’l MFC CA  B++            3.88           2.50
Methanex Corp. MEOH CA  B+            2.21         10.50
Nat’l Bank of Canada NA.TO CA  B++            3.86           9.00
Pembina Pipeline PPL.TO CA  B++            4.80           5.00
Power Financial PWF.TO CA  B+            4.66           5.50
Rogers Communications RCIB.TO CA  B+            2.99         42.50
Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO CA  A            3.70           9.50
Russel Metals RUS.TO CA  B++            5.29           4.50
Shaw Commun. ‘B’ SJRB.TO CA  B+            4.14         21.50
Sun Life Fin’l Svcs. SLF.TO CA  B++            3.49           4.50
Suncor Energy SU.TO CA  A            2.87         24.00
TELUS Corporation T.TO CA  B++            4.42         13.50
Thomson Reuters TRI.TO CA  B++            2.50           5.00
Toronto-Dominion TD.TO CA  A            3.50         10.00
TransCanada Corp. TRP CA  B++            5.15           4.50


Company Ticker Domicile Code  Financial Strength  Dividend Yield  Dividend Growth 10-Year
ABB Ltd. ADR ABB CH  A            2.78           23.00
Garmin Ltd. GRMN CH  A+            3.52           19.50
Novartis AG ADR NVS CH  A++            3.26           12.50
Siemens AG (ADS) SIEGY DE  A            2.78             9.50
Novo Nordisk ADR NVO DK  A++            2.06           28.00
Sanofi ADR SNY FR  A+            3.96             8.50
Total ADR TOT FR  A++            5.28             3.50
GlaxoSmithKline ADR GSK GB  A+            5.63             4.50
Rio Tinto plc RIO GB  A            5.06             9.50
WPP PLC ADR WPP GB  A+            3.49           15.00
Medtronic plc MDT IE  A++            2.31           15.00
Unilever PLC ADR UL NL  A++            2.97             5.50


Happy Investing !!


Happy New Year!!


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November 2017 Update


A Slice of History

Biography of my Grandfather

Finally Finished. It started as an idea in 2013. Then in 2014 I embarked on almost three years of extensive research. For the past year I have been writing, revising and editing. My Grandfather’s biography is now complete.


November Results

AND another great month.  The Canadian market grew a modest quarter of a percent on the month for a respectable, but low 5% on the year.  However, my Canadian portfolio grew by almost one and a quarter percent for almost 10% year-to-date – in line with my 15 year average.

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October 2017 Investing Update


Author visit – California

Author Visit

My book “Pepper” was assigned reading at my grandsons’ school. I was invited to talk to the students and sign copies of my book.


October Results

Another good month.  All markets saw a significant increase – anywhere from 2.5% to 4.3%.  On a YTD basis markets are up anywhere between 5% and 18%.

My Canadian portfolio is ahead of the market with a 2.65% gain on the month for a YTD gain of 8.7%.  My US portfolio continues to lag the major markets as I have no exposure to the hot US financial stocks and I have a couple of under-performing holdings.  But I still have a gain of 10% YTD.

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September 2017 Update

  1. ***

Enjoying The Last of Summer

September Travels

But always good to get back home

Elbow River – near our home


September Results

A great month.  Canada posted close to a 3% gain, putting the TSX at a 2 1/4 % gain YTD.  The US markets were up about 2% for YTD gains of 13%.

My Canadian portfolio kept pace with the TSX while my US portfolio was well ahead of the DJIA and S&P.  My overall portfolio was up close to 3% for the month and almost 5% YTD (over 7% excluding the effects of the stronger Canadian dollar).

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August 2017 Update


A Magical Summer

With grandkids in Regina


August Results

All markets posted small gains for the month of August resulting in YTD being almost identical to July YTD.  The TSX is in a small loss position for the year and the two US indexes are up 10 and 11%.

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