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Find answers to your questions | Demystify the economy

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Every week, you send your questions on the economy, finances, markets, etc. Our journalists try to answer them with the help of experts.

How can they make a profit with a falling stock?

I still don’t understand the short-selling actions. Buy a stock by betting on its fall and make a profit? How is it possible ?

Andrew G.

But how the hell do they set the fixed rates

I wonder how the bond rates that dictate the fixed mortgage rates are influenced. Contrary to the publicized announcements of the central bank which inform us about the increases of the variable rates to come, the fixed rates remain a real mystery and their fluctuations seem to me impossible to predict. I’ve read about it, but haven’t quite figured out the mechanics. Be pedagogical, please.

Sophia B.

Stock markets: why post-closure transactions?

From one day to the next, I notice that trades in securities that I monitor as an investor are made after the stock market closes at 4:00 p.m. How do these post-closure transactions work? Why are they allowed? Which investors have access to it? Can they disadvantage investors who do not have access to them?

Normand Boisjoly

Why is Tesla’s stock worth more than Volkswagen’s?

Can you explain to me why there is such a disparity between a stock like Tesla which has been worth up to $900, when the company is making almost no profit, while a Volkswagen stock, which is a huge profit-making company worth about $200, that Ford is US$15.16 and GM is US$38?

Maurice Marier

Grants: electronic or in person?

At the Exchange, there are regular hours (9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on business days) and extended pre- and post-market hours. We understand that it works electronically. So what are brokers doing on the stock exchange floor?

Nicholas Clift

WTI, Brent and others

Every day, we are told about the price of oil and we use the terms “Brent” and “WTI”. To complicate matters, different prices per barrel are announced for each category. Could you give us an explanation of the nature of each of these terms?

Pierre Lemire

The S&P/TSX Composite Index: The Value of Points

When we say that the S&P/TSX has lost a point, what does that mean? What does the value of a point represent?

Minh Van Tran

The power of reserve currency

Why is the US dollar the reserve currency? What advantages does this bring to the United States?

Michael Jacques

Are rising interest rates affecting businesses?

Hello. I would like to know if interest rate hikes will also affect companies, and how? I imagine they also have mortgages and loans to pay off.

Jean Courchesne

Who funds the International Monetary Fund?

I recently read an article in The Press whose title was “The IMF releases 1 billion dollars to support Ecuador”. Who provides the money to the IMF? Does this money earn interest? How are cash advance decisions made?

Normand Boisjoly

How does a commission-free broker generate their income?

Recently, online brokerage firms have offered to carry out transactions for the sale or purchase of securities free of charge. These companies are certainly not operating at a loss. It would be interesting to know where they get their income from when they offer this service free of charge.

Jacques Larose

What are the effects of monetary tightening on the financial and real estate markets?

Hello. From what I understand, low interest rates and monetary easing by central banks have fueled the rise in stock markets and real estate. Interest rates are going up. What about monetary easing? What is the effect of monetary tightening on the market decline?

Gael Le Corre-Laliberte

Is the RESP still the best investment for a child?

My grandson turned 2 recently. Since he was born, on his birthdays and at Christmas, we put money in an RESP for him. For several years, we have heard that it was one of the best investments with the contribution of the government. But is this still the case? Given the economic situation, should we favor another investment for its future?

Lison Bouchard

Why so much volatility?

Financial advisors tell us to stay calm and consider the medium and long term for our actions. Why are the markets so nervous and volatile then?

Jocelyn Savoy

How is inflation calculated?

When it is announced that inflation is x % for the month of May, how is it calculated?

Lisette Provencher

Why is the price of gasoline displayed in tenths of a cent?

Gasoline is almost $2.22 a litre. I say almost, because in fact it is $2,219. I think it’s time to get rid of the insignificant tenth of a cent. I would be very curious to know how specialists in the field can explain to us how pumps can manage to calculate a measurement that does not even represent a drop.

Luc Desjarlais, Saint-Amable

Are seafood wholesalers filling their pockets?

Where are the huge profits of seafood wholesalers going? Or the difference between the price paid to fishermen and the price demanded from consumers, for example for crab and lobster?

Lucette Durand

Where do Hydro-Québec’s dividends go?

Are Hydro-Québec surpluses transferred to government coffers? If so, by what mechanism?

Patricia Goulet

Variations of the S&P/TSX and the S&P 500

How to explain that the daily variations of the S&P/TSX index are very often similar to those of the S&P 500, while their composition is different?

Jocelyn Montour

Unemployment and labor shortage

How can there be unemployment when there is a labor shortage?

Luc Bonin

At gold price

It is usually said that the price of gold rises during inflationary periods. It is also said to increase when there is a lot of uncertainty. However, despite the fact that these two factors come together, the price of gold has been fairly stable for two years and has even fallen recently. Is the above statement wrong or are there other factors?

Jacques L.

Why is the ruble not falling?

I would like to know why the ruble returned to its pre-war value despite the measures taken by NATO.

Bernard Fontaine

A look at GDP

How is the economy’s GDP calculated? Where does the data come from?

Yves Champagne

The Role of Gold in the Global Financial System

Would it be possible to have a fairly detailed article on the role of gold in the stability of Canadian, American or other currencies?

J. Damphousse

A CDPQ fund for everyone?

The performance of the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec is often praised. Why does it not offer the public an equivalent mutual fund, the investments of which would reproduce as automatically as possible the current investments of the Caisse? As a small private investor, I would love such a fund! Just a single fund sold without advice on the internet, intended mainly for retirees. It seems so obvious to me that there must be regulatory constraints that prevent it, but are they justified for the common good?

Luke Solomon

Is the government contributing to inflation with social housing?

Questions concerning the construction of housing, in particular social housing. How are they financed, ie how much money does the government put in and how much do the tenants pay? Moreover, is it true that the construction of this type of housing helps to slow down inflation? Or on the contrary, does it not contribute to inflation, with the demand for materials, land and workers to build these dwellings ?

Martin Fregeau

What use is the price/earnings multiple on the stock market?

I would like someone to explain to me the concept of the price/earnings multiple, which is frequently cited in various forms by analysts and managers of equity portfolios on the stock market. How is this price/earnings multiple calculated? Also, can the comparison of multiple prices/earnings between companies in the same sector be used to compare their level of high price or not on the stock market?

Andrée Nehma and Louise Voisard

A unique price all over the world

Hello, I would like to know if there are other products than oil whose price is fixed on the international market and why.

Marc Bourassa

The advantage of producing oil

Hello, I can understand that an oil importing country has no choice but to suffer the current market increases. But for a country like Canada, which is an oil exporter, why should the Canadian consumer pay such increases in the price per litre? The price at the pump should be related to Canadian production costs, plus a reasonable profit margin. How come the price at the pump increases so quickly with market speculation?

Real Meunier

The TFSA

If we want to put money aside in a TFSA, can we add amounts regularly? Can we put in $1,000 a month instead of a single payment of $12,000 a year?

Chantal Desjardins

Interest rate and market value

My question stems from the context of anticipation of future interest rate hikes by central banks in order to calm inflation in the economy. In the stock market, why do we say that higher interest rates can reduce the value of stocks?

Alain Wolff

What are the benefits of share buybacks?

Could you explain the ins and outs of corporate stock buybacks? What are the benefits, for the company, for the remaining shareholders, for the sellers, etc. ?

Alain Girard

What are the links between inflation and the key rate?

Could you explain the link between inflation, the key rate and bank interest rates?

Myriam Ariey-Jouglard

Who pays US taxes on Canadian softwood lumber?

Although I actively follow Canadian economic activity, I must admit that I do not quite understand how the application of the tax on softwood lumber crossing the border into the United States works. I would like to read an article that clearly explains the whole process, the application of the special taxes resulting from the American requirements, clearly showing the price differences. Why is it not only US customers (product buyers) who bear the additional costs of products that cross borders?

Robert Raby



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