Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

So you want to make a New Year’s resolution. Maybe it is a different resolution than the one you made for 2011, or maybe it is the same one you have made for the past several years. Before you sign-up for another gym membership or purge your kitchen cupboards of any item remotely resembling a carbohydrate, consider this:  what is a “resolution”, anyway?    
Simply put, a resolution is an expressed and purposeful intention for change. We are hopeful creatures, we humans, driven toward bettering ourselves and our lives. We want to achieve, cure, strengthen, develop, build and overcome. We are remarkable in our capacity for achievement.  But we have a darker side, too. Human beings are prone to self-criticism, feelings of failure, despondency and disappointment. We can easily become disillusioned with our dreams.

How do we kindle our desire for change while keeping our tendency toward pessimism at bay? Our hopes for change can become easily overwhelmed by intentions which are too grand, or which don’t fit with our basic values and priorities.  

New Year’s Resolutions: Successful or Disappointing Solutions
Start this year by asking what changes you really want and why you want them. Change
for change sake is ill-fated.You must have ansense of how differences in your behaviors or
habits will bring about a meaningful and measurable improvement in your over-all quality of life.

Consider a very common New Year’s resolution; losing extra pounds. The idea of losing weight in order to look good is an understandable desire, but does it really reflect what you want? Perhaps what you want is to have a more positive view of yourself, or to find yourself in a new relationship in which you feel valued. Once you have understood what your underlying motivation is, you can imagine that weight loss might be only one part of the end goal.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sell, Buy, Hold - What Did You Do on Trading Day?

On November 16th the UCU Investment Challenge III had it's Trading Day, as the competion heads into the final stage.  Participants were allowed to switch out of any or all of their positions for new ones, or re-adjust their portfolios in any way, as long as they maintained a minimum of 3 positions (not including cash) and each position was at least 10% of the portfolio.

Although the contest at this point has a clear leader in 1st position (George F.), the battle for the remaining two money spots is still quite heated.  The 37 portfolios in the contest, only 6 were active on Trading DayPeter Tr., Pawel S., Simon C., Thomas W., George F. and Oleh M. were the active traders, looking for new opportunities to either secure the gains they've realized until now, or to re-gear their portfolios for the last push towards the Winner's Circle.  It isn't a surprise that George was active, as he shifted most of his portfolio into bond ETFs, putting on the biggest Risk-Off trade of the contest.  Peter, Simon and Thomas re-geared their portfolios, concentrating on stocks they hope to see win big in the second half.  Oleh took a balanced approach to reshaping his entire portfolio, and Pawel made one switch trade in the tech sector.

We hope to send out the portfolios shortly for review to our contestants, and we will re-post the performance chart early next week following today's closing values.

Good luck to everyone into the home stretch!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Yarmarok 2012 Mississauga

Hundreds of people turned out over the weekend for the annual Christmas market at St. Mary's Dormition Ukrainian Catholic Church on Cawthra Rd. for Yarmarok. Yarmarok has everything from ornaments, handcrafted jewelry, embroidered shirts and pillows and ceramic artwork and more. There were also activities for children, including decorating gingerbread cookies and face painting while their parents shopped. Yarmarok usually draws about 1,500 people and raises more than $20,000 for the church.

 Want to see the rest of the event? Click HERE for our Facebook photo album.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

UCU Training Day 2012

What a great Training day for UCU this year! Almost all the staff from our 12 branches, Wealth Strategies Group and Head Office gathered for a day of learning and networking. It was also a great day for everyone to get to know the staff from our newest branch in Hamilton.

Check out all of the pictures from the day on our Facebook  page HERE!

St. Joseph's Church Trivia Night

The highly successful trivia night took place at St. Joseph's Ukrainian Catholic Church in Oakville (home of a brand new UCU ATM).Over 25 teams participated! 

The team from Ukrainian Credit Union Limited, pictured below, didn't know what to expect since it was the first time any of us had participated in the Trivia Night. Well we were in for a good time. We had no idea how any people would be there and how knowledgeable they were! The food was amazing and the atmosphere was electric.

Team UCU: Diane Comtois, JEan Comtois, Yuriy Nesvit and Roman Babej. Not pictured Yuriy Diakunchak

After the first round the UCU team was in second place. We could not believe our eyes! In the second round we captured 1st place and hung on to it till the bitter end when in the 7th round, team #10 tied with us. A tension filled bonus round followed, but at the end we were still tied!

After a short break Team #10 and Team UCU got down to it once more. And finally we came out ahead by one point.  It was a tough fight and we take our hats off to the members of Team #10. We look forward to meeting them again next year for a rematch.

The second place team sitting they preferred the name "Team #1"
unfortunately that was already taken by team UCU

The award we received - The Myska Moodrosty or Bowl of Wisdom - alone was worth the trip to Trivia Night. We are already planning our return next year and recruiting eager new competitors to our team.

Myska Moodrosty (St. Joseph's kindly let us take it home for a bit to show the rest of the staff,
but we promise to bring it back!

A very well attended event. The banquet hall at St. Joseph's was pretty well at capacity.

More pictures of the event are available on our Facebook page in the St. Joseph's Church Trivia Night album.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

UCU IC lll Week 4 plus a day

With Rememberance Day falling on Sunday, most financial institutions were closed for Monday, and UCU was no exception.  Hence, we are a day behind in our post, and we have taken a snapshot of the portfolios following Week 4, plus Monday's market results as well.

Following 5 days of poor markets, we are happy to state that more than 50% of the portfolios entered into the contest are sitting with positive returns.  Some of these have actually performed quite impressively over the past 4 weeks.  Thins seem to be positioning themselves nicely for Trading Day, which is this Friday, November 16th - so if you want to make changes to your portfolio, positions will be sold and bought with pricing as at the close of November 16th.

Currently, sitting in 1st Place is George F.  He has been in this position since the start of the contest, and his portfolio generated a 16% return over the past 6 trading days.  Not too far behind in 2nd Place is Andrew R., whose portfolio returned 5% on the week.  In 3rd Place at the moment we find Peter Tr., as his portfolio returned 2% on the week.  Not bad considering it was a very volatile week, as the markets were displeased with the President Barak Obama winning a second term, and Greece struggled to raise $5 billion to pay off maturing debt.

We look forward to any changes that our participants wish to make in their portfolios, and we remind them again that midnight on Friday, November 16th is the deadline.  We will be posting updated stock screens for the TSX Composite, TSX Venture and S&P 500 Index by Thursday.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Remembrance Day 2012 - Вічная пам'ять - Героям Слава!

In commemoration of the men and women who served their country, all UCU branches will be closed on Monday November 12.

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.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Get Schooled in our RESP Seminar!

Yet another of the famous UCU Wealth Strategies Group seminars is coming up. Read below and register now!

Holodomor Commemorations

November is Holodomor Remembrance Month. In honour of the millions who lost their lives during that terrible time, Ukrainian Credit Union Limited is holding a food drive. Look for the sign below at your local branch. All food items collected will be donated to local food banks.

Markets Jittery - Week 3 of UCU Inv. Ch. lll

One would have thought that with strong economic data out of the U.S. would have driven equity markets considerably higher last week - but SuperStorm Sandy and being on the eve of a very tight race for the U.S. Presidency put a real damper on markets - with Friday markets trading down a bunch. 

US non-farm payrolls and factory orders came in much better than expected with positive revisions to earlier data.  However, it wasn't enough to drive positive sentiment.

On the week, the S&P 500 index was up only  a few points, while the TSX was up only 0.65%, barely able to hold to gains following Friday's sell off.

We continue to have our contest led by George F., whose portfolio made some positive advancements on the week, now up about 64% since the start.  Currently in 2nd spot is Thomas W., whose portfolio is up 16% from the start, and in third place we have Andrew R., whose portfolio is up just over 15%.  As can be seen by the chart above, the rest of the contestants are quite literally "breathing down the necks" of our leader board, and so it still remains anyone contest.

We thought it would be interesting to note some of the best performing positions, as there are quite a few that have delivered phenomenal returns over a three week period.  To start with, the best performing position for any portfolio is Thomas W.'s Rusoro Mining which is up a spectacular 100% so far.  Right up there we see Galway Resources, up 83% (Peter Tr.) and Groundstar Resources, up 80% (George F.) as contending for best single holding.  Other honourable mentions include: Sintana Energy, up 31% (Oleh M.); Windland Electronics, up 29% (Lyubomyr T.); Air Canada, up 24% (Stephan B. and Andrew R.), and; Norbord, up 18% (Ivanna F.).

Friday, November 2, 2012

Historical Vignettes: Hamilton Branch

On November 1, 2012, United Ukrainian Credit Union on Barton Street in Hamilton opened its doors as the newest branch of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited. The following is a brief history of United Ukrainian Credit Union.
UUCU building on Barton Street in Hamilton

History of United Ukrainian Credit Union

The credit union movement began in Canada in the early 1900s with financial co-operatives being established. The first Ontario credit union was incorporated in 1928. As Ukrainian immigrants settled in the Hamilton area, a small group of them inspired by the co-operative spirit decided to establish their own credit union and in October 1943, the Ukrainian (Hamilton) Credit Union Ltd. was opened by members of the Ukrainian National Federation. It was the first Ukrainian credit union in Ontario. Soon afterwards three other Hamilton Ukrainian credit unions were founded. All four credit unions existed individually for some 25 years when it became evident that due to the cost of technological advances and for economic reasons, it would be beneficial to amalgamate.

In January 1976, United Ukrainian Credit Union Limited was born and received its Certificate of Amalgamation. The three founding credit unions were, St. Vladimir (Hamilton) Credit Union Limited, Ukrainian (Hamilton) Credit Union Limited and Holy Ghost Parish (Hamilton) Credit Union Limited. Since its amalgamation, UUCU has come a long way in the past 30 years, with current assets of $41 million and 2,000 members. Time itself has justified the expedience of the amalgamation and the truth in the slogan “Strength in Unity”.

UUCU was a strong supporter of the Hamilton area Ukrainian-Canadian community, (cultural groups, organizations, schools and community projects). This tradition of support for the community will be continued by Ukrainian Credit Union Limited - our slogan is "Building Community".

Staff from various departments of the newly merged credit union
gather to greet members on the first day of operations of
Ukrainian Credit Union's new Hamilton Branch
For more photos of opening day please visit the "Day one in Hamilton" album on our FB page.

Other photos of Hamilton can be found here: UUCU votes to unite with UCU.