Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Everything Is Up for Grabs!

A spectacular rally in equity markets today, as 6 central banks have cut US dollar lending rates to financial instutions, especially in Europe, helping raise liquidity in markets, energizing bulls to step up and bid the market considerably higher. Across North American, equity indices rose over 4%, with the S&P 500 Composite up 4.33% while the TSX Composite was up 4.02%. Not a bad way to end the month of November, which was looking quite dire given all the difficulties Europe is having putting a coordinated strategy in place to avoid contagion from fast rising sovereign debt yields. This has put our contest into a very interesting situation, as the leader board has changed fairly dramatically in one day. To start the final 16 days of our contest, we have a new portfolio in the number one position, that being Lubomyra T. In second place, we have Lubomyr T. and holding onto the third spot is Lara F. (a first time for Lara in the top three). Just under $2,000 separates 3rd from 1st place, while in 4th spot, Yuri B., is only behind by another $2,000. Anything can happen over the next 2 and half weeks, so stay engaged!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Dog Fight With Three Weeks Left!

The UCU Investment Challenge has turned into a dog fight, with two portfolios battling for 1st spot, and four to five others keep the pressure on for 3rd, making this a very exciting battle to the finish line! We are entering week number 7 of a 9 week contest, and the jockeying for position is intensifying. Currently, our long standing No. 1, Marc M. remains in the lead, but Alexander R. has run up fast and furious over the past three weeks, and is in a very close 2nd position. Only $2Kseparates the two portfolios as of November 25th. Yuri B., who's portfolio has been a very consistent performer throughout the first 7 weeks has entered the winners circle and stands in 3rd spot. That said, less $500 separates 3rd and 4th spot, where Lubomyra T. is currently positioned. As Yogi Berra said, "The game ain't over 'til it's over!" Stay tuned as we head into the final 1/3 of the competition.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Week Five - The Race is Tightening Up!

With apologies to our participants and followers, we have finally posted the updated portfolio positions as of the close on Friday, November 18th. We had four portfolios entering trades on the 17th, and so we took some time to get those marked and entered into the portfolios. What a brutal week it was, as the TSX gave up over 300 points to close down 3.1% on the week, while the TSX Venture was down 2.0% on the week and the S&P 500 Index was down 3.8% on the week. This has brought about a re-alignment once again of our leader group. Marc M. remains at the top, but his portfolio has come down a lot and is up only 37% relative to the start of our competition. We have a new portfolio in 2nd place, Lubomyr T., while Lubomyra T. is in the top 5 for the first time, gaining 3rd place as of November 18th. The biggest gainer on the week was Alexander R., whose portfolio was up 13%, taking him from a negative 5% return since the start of our contest to November 11th, to a positive 7% at November 18th. He is now holding 5th place, while Michael P. is in 4th place. The competition is becoming tighter as many portfolios continue to jockey for position week to week.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holodomor Awareness Week

Holodomor commemorative display at our Windsor branch  
This week is National Holodomor Awareness Week. This is an annual event held in memory of the millions of people who perished in the Soviet-engineered famine that devastated Ukraine and other territories in the Soviet Union that contained large Ukrainian ethnic populations. Stalin ordered the devastation of the Ukrainian farming class in order to break the back of a potential anti-Soviet backlash brewing amongst a population unhappy with Soviet economic and national-assimilationist policies. Below is the text of the press release sent out on the occasion by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. For a link to a list of events being held across the country this month, please scroll down to the bottom of the press release.

National Holodomor Awareness Week
November 21 - 27, 2011

Canadians will unite in remembrance November 21-27 during the fourth annual National Holodomor Awareness Week.   Events across the country will commemorate one of the most heinous crimes in the history of mankind and honour its victims which number in the millions.  

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) continues its efforts to secure this genocide’s rightful place in the new publicly-funded Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  Recognized by the Parliament of Canada as genocide of the Ukrainian people, this year's Holodomor anniversary will be marked with a variety of commemorative programs and the participation of Holodomor survivors.

Understanding the horrible impact of famine on a country and its people, the Ukrainian Canadian community reached out to the Somali community in their time of need, raising over $110,000 for African Famine relief, presenting a cheque to UNICEF on October 28.

Throughout Canada, installations of black flags at prominent city locations will pay tribute to the millions of children, women and men who were victims of the Soviet regime's ruthless genocidal policy to eliminate the Ukrainian nation. 

A Commemorative Ceremony organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in cooperation with the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group will be held November 22 on Parliament Hill.

Saturday, November 26 marks International Holodomor Memorial Day and Holodomor Memorial Day in Canada. We urge Canadians will honour the memory of the victims with a moment of silence at 7:32 p.m. (19:32) and light candles of remembrance in their homes.  Memorial services will be celebrated in churches across the country on Sunday, November 27.

For a list of events across the country visit

For further information Darla Penner,  204-942-4627,

Yarmarok 2011 is a big hit in Mississauga

Yarmarok 2011 wrapped up over the weekend and was it ever a success. This year St. Mary's parish celebrated the 40th anniversary of this pre-Christmas sale and cultural event. Ukrainian Credit Union Limited was once again proud to be a sponsor of this event that brought out many parishioners, family, friends, local residents and political bigwigs such as Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion.

Ron Cahute emceed the show and Barvinok dancers provided the main entertainment on stage. The food as always was delicious and comforting.

Ukrainian Credit Union introduced the second edition of the UCU Investment Challenge at Yarmarok this year, signing up a couple of dozen participants. However, the second round of the competition does not start till January 13, so there is still plenty of time for you to sign up if you want to participate. You can find all sorts of news and information about the first round of the Investment Challenge here.

We have posted a lot of photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Jazz and some wine - a good mix

The Jazz on the Vine event this past Saturday turned out to be a lot of fun. The Six Points Jazz Orchestra played the night away while people chatted, danced, sampled some great wines and dined on an excellent array of cheeses, crackers, spreads and other snackables. Whoever selected the cheeses for the buffet table did a great job!

Six Points Jazz Orchestra during their first set of the evening
The event was held in support of Erinoaks Kids which provides treatment, rehabilitation and support services to more than 11,700 children with disabilities and their families each year. You can read more about Erinoaks on their website.

The band really had their groove on, the youngest fan in attendance, Demyan, age almost 7, was quoted as saying, "Now that's what I call jazz!." Of course he said the same thing on the way home in the car when a White Stripes song came on, so perhaps he still has a bit of ways to go before he becomes a seasoned music critic. Nonetheless, he, and the others in attendance were very pleased by it all.

You can see more pictures of the event on our Facebook page.

Six Points Jazz Orchestra features Roman Litwinchuk, COO of UCU on the drums. the band can be seen at occasional jams at local establishments such as Gate 403 on Roncesvalles. Check out the restaurant's calendar for their next appearance.

Support for the Ukrainian Catholic University

UCU Director Andre Sochaniwsky (left), Eugene Roman,
Chair of the UCU Board (3rd from left), and Taras Pidzamecky,
UCU CEO (right) present Fr. Gudziak of the Ukrainian
Catholic University a cheque for $5,000. (Photo courtesy
of New Pathway)
Last Friday (November 11), representatives of the Ukrainian Catholic University spoke to Torontonians gathered at an event organized by the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation (UCEF) and the Toronto Friends of the Ukrainian Catholic University. UCEF is the latest charity to sign up to the ChangeIt program offered by UCU, so if you are interested in supporting them financially please read more here: ChangeIt.

Father Borys Gudziak, rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and Yaroslav Rushschyshyn, a member of the University's Senate along with several other speakers addressed the audience in the auditorium of the Plast Toronto Huculak Centre. You can read more about the event here: Building a University

The University, along with other leading educational institutions in Ukraine, have been under intense pressure to fall in line with the government's policies on education, language, and identity in Ukraine. It is one of the many elements of civil society in Ukraine that is resisting the pressure to conform and fighting for a pluralistic society.

The intent of the meeting was to inform attendees of what is happening at the University and in its environment. The goal was to raise awareness as well as funds to help the University continue its work unmolested. An article in Kyiv Post linked here details some of the funds that were raised. Ukrainian Credit Union Limited is proud to have had the opportunity to contribute $5,000 to this worthy cause, as we believe that a stable and democratic Ukraine that respects the rights of its citizens is the key to peace and economic development for all the nations of the former soviet bloc.

You can see more pictures of the event on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And Now, For the "Real" Week 4 Position Chart

It's nice to see that this contest is being followed closely by many people, as small mistakes can be picked up and quickly corrected. The contest remains hot, espcially for positions 2 and 3, but with this being the mid point of the competition and Thursday November 17th being our trade date (get your position switches in by 5pm on Thursday if you want them to be recorded!), there's still plenty of opportunity to make headway and challenge for first spot. Marc M. remains the leader, with Sangeeta P. in 2nd spot and Lubomyr T. in 3rd, while Yuri B. and Adam F. are close behind in 4th and 5th respectively. We're glad to see that more than 57% of portfolios in the competition remain above the waterline of 100K in portfolio value, which goes to show that even in a very turbulent market environment, good performing stocks can be found! If you are planning on making position switches, please email them to:

Feels A Lot Like "Foot - In - Mouth"

"A Back Office, A Back Office ... My Kingdom for a Back Office!" Bastardizing Shakeshpeare here a little bit, my excitement about some strong portfolio advances at the end of Week 4 that potentially would have changed the nature of the contest has left me with a little bit of "foot in mouth" disease. If I had a back office for this contest this situation may not have occurred. My apologies go to Roman H., who appeared to have made huge gains over the past week (sorry, your portfolio is still doing well, just not as well as earlier indicated), but as it was correctly pointed out by Anonymous commenting on the Week 4 graph blog (thank you for that!), we will make corrections to the portfolio positions as of the end of Week 4 (November 11th). There will be only one portfolio affected by this correction, but it will change the positions of the portfolios slightly. This we will do very shortly, given there is some back dating needed to be done to the spreadsheet we are running as it is tied to a real-time pricing feed. Keep your eyes on the UCU blog spot for these updates. We will also be providing fresh material pricing everyones positions and portfolios as of mid day today, along with updated stock screens for the TSX Composite, TSX Venture and S&P 500 stocks.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 4 Portfolio Snap Shot - The Race is Heating UP!

We have now wrapped up week four, and heading towards the midway mark of our UCU Investment Challenge. I'd like to remind everyone that there is one and only one opportunity to make switches in your portfolio, and those need to be submitted before 5pm on Thursday, November 17th. The results so far continue to have Marc M. at the top of our leader board, where the value of his portfolio has a current value of 184K. A huge advance this week has come from Roman H., whose portfolio advanced 42% on the week, catapulting him into 2nd spot. His portfolio is now valued at 147K, turing the battle for first place on its head after it appeared as though Marc M. would run away with this contest so early on. Holding down third spot is Sangeeta P., whose portfolio had the most dramatic move in Week 3, putting her into third spot, now valued at 123K. What we'd like to point out is that this is still anyone contest, and you never know when a position will perform very strongly, driving portfolio values higher. This is what makes this contest so exciting is that even though you may think that you're treading water, out of the blue anything can happen - your holding to have a huge corporate announcement about very strong earnings, a takeover of the company, or a very large new order that changes the value metrics for the shares over night. This can also work in the opposite direction too, and so it makes it fun following corporate announcements and global economic events.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Вічная пам'ять - Героям Слава!

Lest we forget

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Wild Market - Leader Board Shifts Some More!

What a crazy week it has been so far, and we still have Friday to contend with! Greece, Italy - both in political chaos, and then to add insult to injury, Standard and Poor's credit rating system mistakenly sent out email notification to subscribers that France's AAA/A-+ credit rating was being downgraded! S&P later came out with a correction, verifying that France remained AAA/A+ stable rating, but French bonds took on the chin anyways. With so much instability in the markets, we are pleasantly surprised to see 20% of our portfolios actually realizing a gain so far this week relative to last Friday's close. We congratulate Victoria Z, Walter Y, Roman H, Adriana V, Mel W, George F, Leisha N, Sergio R, Andriy T and Alexander R for showing that even in a tough market, portfolio gains can still be realized. We also are enjoying the fact that the top of our leader board continues to change, where last week Sangeeta P and Jeffrey Z make massive strides upward; this week we se Roman H as big gainer, coming out of no where to sit in 2nd place as of the close on Thursday. One of his positions has now generated at 210% gain (more than a 3 bagger), driving his portfolio to a 142K level. We now have a very exciting fight for all three top positions, as Marc M, sitting at 187K has seen his comfortable lead shrink with Roman H moving fast upon him. To conclude, we'd like to point to everyone that we are one week away from our trade date, which will mark the mid point of our contest. Stay tuned as we will provide updated stock screens with valuation and momentum indicators to help you look for potential switch ideas. And as always, we will provide an end of week portfolio snapshot of where each portfolio is positioned.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Building a University - a UCEF event

On November 11 the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation and the Toronto Friends of the Ukrainian Catholic University are hosting a meeting with Fr. Borys Gudziak and Yaroslav Rushchyshyn. Both are leaders of the Ukrainian Catholic University. The event will take place at the Plast Toronto Huculak Centre at 516 The Kingsway (at Kipling). Admission is free but donations are welcome. Click on the poster at left for more details.

Fr. Gudziak, Ph.D., is the rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. He is a leading intellectual and historian in post-Soviet Ukraine, who has been recognized for his scholarly achievements and pastoral inspiration. Click on the two images below for a bio of Fr. Borys Gudziak.
Fr. Guzdiak bio page 1
Fr. Gudzik bio page 2

The second speaker, Yaroslav Rushchyshyn is a member of the Ukrainian Catholic University’s Senate, the governing body of this institution of higher learning and a founding member of the Lviv Business School at UCU. He is a Lviv-based businessman, who owns the Trottola clothing company.
Mr. Rushchyshyn, 43, is a strong supporter of the Ukrainian Catholic University and its Lviv Business School, having contributed close to $250,000 to the University. He has been instrumental in contributing generously to the building the wooden church, the Church of the Newly Blessed Martyrs, that now stands on the edge of Stryisky Park, where the new campus is being constructed.
“My dream was always to create a school that gives a particular level of quality. I believe that the Ukrainian Catholic University gives that particular level of quality not just in education, but also in student life,” he said.
He is a graduate of the Taras Shevchenko State University’s School of Law in Kyiv and also holds an MBA from the Kyiv Mohyla Business School. In the past, he has served as an elected oblast deputy from the Nasha Ukraina  (Our Ukraine) party.  
He has always been a community activist, serving as the head of the student organization, Studentske Bratstvo ( Student Brotherhood) in the early 1990s.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Week 3 - Leader Board Adjusts!

We continue to see jockey of positions on our leader board, as positions 2 through 5 have adjusted. Marc M. remains the leader, but his portfolio slipped by 4% on the week, yet is up over 89% at 189.5K. However, we have a new No. 2, as Sangeeta P. delivered a 30% return on the week, with her portfolio now worth 123K. This is quite impressive, since in Week 2 her portfolio stood 6% below par. Lubomyr T. is holding down 3rd spot at 121K, as his portfolio softened by about 3.5% on the week. Jeffery Z. continues to run up the standings - remember, his portfolio was 49th after Week 1, then jumped to 25th spot after Week 2 and is now sitting in 4th spot at a value of 115K. Rounding out the Top 5 is Yuri B., at 113K, and whose portfolio continues to gain value week after week. Adam F. who was in 3rd spot last week, fell to 6th as his portfolio lost about 7%. The past week was a very nerve wracking one in the markets, with the Greeks threatening a referendum on accepting the austerity plan that was placed before by the powers that were providing them emergency funding (the IMF and ECB). What is interesting is that of the Top 5 portfolios, only the No.1 spot is a single position portfolio - all the others hold 5 positions (Lubomyr T. and Yuri B. actually have balanced portfolio positions, while Sangeeta P. and Jeffery Z. hold 5 positions, but the largest weight in each is 60% of the portfolio.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More upcoming events in the community

Two more events that are coming up in the near future are the premier of Iryna Korpan's new film "Вона заплатила життям" (She paid with her life) a film about Ukrainians who risked their lives to save their Jewish neighbours during the Holocaust. The screening will take place at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre at 83 Christie on November 13, 2011 at 2pm. Tickets are $15/person. Coffee and sweets will be served.

The second event is "Jazz on the Vine" an evening of music and wine featuring the smooth sounds of the Six Points Jazz Orchestra in support of Erinoak Kids. The band features UCU's own COO Roman Litwinchuk on the drums! Tickets are $25/person. The event will take place on November 19, 2011 at the Trident Banquet Hall at 145 Evans Avenue. For information please call 416-253-6002 or email