Graham optimistic for Canadian market

Michael Graham offers investment insight for clientele of Vernon's Cooper Boyd Patterson Team at RBC Dominion Securities.

Investment consultant Michael Graham talks to a crowd at the Performing Arts Centre Wednesday night.

Investment consultant Michael Graham talks to a crowd at the Performing Arts Centre Wednesday night.

Over nearly 50 years as an investment advisor, Michael Graham has seen it all.

From market upswings to dreary recessions and everything in between, he has watched the Canadian and global economies endlessly cycle like the Sedins. If there is one thing Graham is certain of, it is that there is little certainty when it comes to predicting what the market will do next.

“I’m still trying to figure out the markets after 50 years,” smiled Graham,  owner of Toronto-based Michael Graham Investment Services. “Every time I think I’ve got the key, somebody’s changed the lock.”

That admission aside, South African-born Graham holds considerable insight into investment strategies, and he shared some of it with an audience Wednesday night at the Performing Arts Centre in Vernon. He was the guest speaker for the Cooper Boyd Patterson Team at RBC Dominion Securities.

“(Clients) are looking for direction in this whole period of uncertainty,” said Gary Cooper, vice-president of the local RBC Dominion Securities branch.

“It’s always nice to have somebody else’s viewpoint. Clients hear our team’s (opinions) and then they turn around and have it either reiterated or substantiated.”

Graham remains upbeat about the markets despite a sluggish economy. In particular, he says Canada has weathered the global recession better than most. With its wealth of natural resources, he said it is in a solid position moving forward.

“If we only knew how much we’ve got going for us,” said Graham. “We’re in better shape than just about any other country.

“Energy is just huge. Natural gas prices are way, way down, but therein lies huge advantage. Natural gas becomes cheap feedstock for industry for the future.

“Canada is the world leader in natural gas, and within Canada, the shining star is British Columbia. You’ve got the port in Kitimat and you’ve got Asia just hungry for it.”

Graham expects the American government will find a way to solve the looming “fiscal cliff.”

The term refers to the economic effect of a number of laws which could result in tax increases, spending cuts and a corresponding reduction in the budget deficit beginning in 2013.

“They (U.S.) are coming to grips with their problems,” said Graham, noting there are lessons to be learned from the past.

“I’ve seen so much of this before. The things that will never change on the human side are the greed and the fear and the competitive side of it.”