SolarWinds Cyber Attack (TWTW – June 21-25, 2021)

Well, Mr. President Biden … recent Geneva Putin sitdown/chat notwithstanding, it looks like Cyber Attacks aren’t going away anytime soon => Read HERE:

Microsoft Discloses New Customer Hack Linked to SolarWinds Cyberattackers

Nice, though, to see that the FEDS managed to regain control of the ransom Bitcoins paid by Colonial Pipeline a few weeks back => Click HERE!

To quote #45 President I didn’t care much for (ok I hated him lol …), there are bad hombres out there … although no, not Mexicans, in the SolarWinds case … Russkis.

In any event, while the Russians clearly figure prominently amongst the ranks of hackers, and continuous cybersecurity attacks and threats, they are by no means the only threat, and, clearly, with the whole world online, well, the threats can come from pretty much anywhere, at any time, and have significant negative repercussions for their targets = hence ransom $$$.

Last week, coincidentally, I hosted a webinar focusing on Cybersecurity with CTA’s Brian Comiskey (Consumer Technology Association), and First Trust Portfolios Canada’s Karl Cheong and his team. It was the third in a series of “thematic” webinars, the first two looking at Clean Green Energy; and 5G.

In case you missed any of them, you can access them here: (Click on the banner to register under Commersphere; click on individual webinar postview for access via CETFA CE Corner):

These are – in my view – themes for the times, highly topical, relevant, and with longevity to them. The investment opportunity is here … the only questions being:  When is the time to buy in? When is it attractively priced, versus less so? And ultimately, what is the runway of the opportunity, respectively how forward-looking are the themes, and how does the opportunity get properly captured?  All questions that, if you dig into them, tune in to the post views above, you ought to have a better idea of.

Naturally, there are many, many more themes out there, as you are by now aware.

This past week, more “access” points were brought to market here in Canada by Horizons ETFs, which launched:

  • The Horizons Global Semiconductor Index ETF => Click HERE!
  • The Horizons Global Lithium Producers Index ETF => Click HERE!

as well as:

  • The Horizons Global Hydrogen Index ETF => Click HERE!

All underpinned by, I would note in passing, Solactive Indices.

By the way, if you are keeping an eye on “themes”, I quite like this slide from Global X ETFs, which illustrates the various opportunities, and where they sit according to Global X (or where they sat a short while ago), in terms of the adoption “continuum”.

Needless to say, another “theme” on display or in the news this past week, was that of “infrastructure”, in the context of the latest news on Biden’s infrastructure spending plan => Click HERE!

There are different ways to access “infrastructure” as a theme:

Global X’s US-listed PAVE (cute ticker …) is significantly Industrials and Materials weighted, while the BMO Global Infrastructure ETF (ZGI), for instance, has more breadth of sector exposure, with none as heavily weighted toward Industrials and/or Materials as PAVE. For that matter, the components deemed infrastructure in the case of ZGI are close to 2/3 Pipelines and Electric Utilities, and about 25% REITs. I am mentioning this here in passing for two reasons:

  1. Evidently, when going for “infrastructure”, you are going to get significantly different results based on how the “infrastructure” exposure in question was put together, respectively what it consists of.
  2. In the case of such a “theme”, I am not sure how much additional incremental demand for the underlying gets generated by bundling them under a “theme” header (vs investors otherwise directly accessing individual stocks).

Also in passing, I would note that PAVE, originated in 2017, and has over USD 3 Billion of AUM. As for BMO’s ZGI, it originated back in 2010 (hence putting Infrastructure as a theme into the “older” themes category if you will, relative, for instance to Telemedicine). ZGI has CAD 261MM of AUM currently.

Performance-wise, as mentioned, vastly different results: ZGI is up 2.67% year-over-year to the end of May, while PAVE is, in USD terms, up 81% over that same period.

BTW – for its part, iShares also has a Global Infrastructure ETF (CIF), which goes back to 2008, has AUM of some CAD 220MM, and a performance year-over-year that stood at +28.7% as at May 31, 2021.

Notable bounces from prior week’s decline on the part of Energy and Materials 🙂

June Distributions:


Bitcoin = further clamping down on Bitcoin by China = continued price decline …

Of course, now having the Bank for International Settlements also weigh in on the negative side of the equation isn’t particularly helpful for Bitcoin fans and prices – as you can imagine => click HERE!

And again on the not bullish side of the ledger, I guess you can count Guggenheim’s Minerd who sees Bitcoin headed for $15K … => click HERE!

Then again … Scott apparently talked about the cryptocurrency heading for $600K …

I guess he strongly believes in momentum either way …

Worth noting:

Dave Rosenberg’s how to play the commodities, semiconductors, covid, tapering, and reflation trade => click HERE!

boy that was a mouthful of a title lol …

And on the political front, Rex Murphy’s take on that wonderful Prime Minister of ours’ decision to try to get the courts to muzzle our democracy => Click HERE! Sunny ways – yeah, right!


“That was when he (Trudeau) accused the Opposition Leader (Erin O’Toole) and his party of “obstructionism and toxicity” rendering Parliament dysfunctional.”

What is the saying again … the cat calling the kettle black? or something to that effect? In French, we have an expression that goes like this: “c’est l’hopital qui se fout de la charite”.

As Shania Twain would say – that Government of ours … Don’t impress me much … other than for their arrogance and sense of self-entitlement and being above the laws of the land …

And that … is it for the moment. Enjoy the weekend/week ahead