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18 April 2019 (AFR) – How to position your portfolio for recession

(18 April 2019, AFR, p58, Mark Draper) ‘Investors should pay attention to the next few months of leading economic indicators, and position their investments accordingly. With the graphs of leading Australian economic indicators taking on the shape of a waterfall, investors would be wise to dust off the play book about how to invest in … Continue reading

18 April 2019 (AFR) – Can the 2019 equity boom last? – Markets return to ‘assisted living’ as investors shun rally

(18 April 2019, AFR, p46,  Patrick Commins) ‘After the best start to Aussie shares since 1991, investors are wondering whether this heralds a new beginning or the restart of an old, unwelcome trend. It might not feel like it, but the start of 2019 has witnessed a boom of historical proportions on the ASX. A … Continue reading

5 April 2019 (AFR) – Off-the-plan apartments bomb for investors

(5 April 2019, AFR, p10, Duncan Hughes) ‘Two out of three Melbourne apartments sold off the plan during the past eight years have made no price gains, or have lost money upon resale, despite a property boom and record immigration, according to analysis by BIS Oxford Economics. In Brisbane about half are selling at a … Continue reading

29 March 2019 (AFR) – Australian bond yields at fresh record low

(29 March 2019, AFR, p31, Vesna Poljak) ‘Australian 10-year bond yields have hit a fresh record low of 1.73 per cent, and half a percentage point of interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank is now fully priced in by the futures market, which sees the cash rate at 1 per cent in August 2020. … Continue reading

29 March 2019 (AFR) – Consumers confused over financial advice: ASIC

[COMMENT: This is a very interesting article. When we stop and think about it, it’s no wonder that general consumers are confused about the terminology in this field. the regulators have put this wording in place without taking enough time and care to make sure that consumers understand it.] (29 March 2019, AFR, p20, James … Continue reading

25 March 2019 (AFR) – Investors await $10b windfall amid market sell-off

(25 March 2019, AFR, p23, William McInnes) ‘More than $10 billion is set to hit investors’ back pockets this week as Australian companies pay out a record level of dividends to their investors. Eighty-eight companies will return money to their shareholders this week, the biggest week in a bumper two months for dividend-hungry shareholders.’ Read more … Continue reading

23 March 2019 (AFR) – US stocks fall amid hints of slowing growth

(23 March 2019, AFR online, Vildana Hajric and Sarah Ponczek) ‘New York | US equities ended the week lower and Treasuries rose amid more signals that global growth is slowing. The US dollar advanced against most major currencies, while the three-month/10-year yield curve inverted for the first time since 2007. Despite a dovish turn by … Continue reading

14 March 2019 (AFR) – Will the next financial crisis be as bad as the last one?

(14 March 2019, AFR, p27, Patrick Commins) ‘The world has borrowed an extra $US66 trillion since 2008, when a global financial meltdown triggered a “great recession” in the United States and brought the world economy down. The total global debt pile sits at $US178 trillion ($252.2 trillion) as at the middle of last year, an … Continue reading

13 March 2019 (AFR) – The final kick in Shoes of Prey collapse for Blue Sky backers

(13 March 2019, AFR, p16, Jonathan Shapiro) ‘Investors in a Blue Sky fund that backed start-up Shoes of Prey are set to lose all their money, including a portion of the $1 million in management fees that were paid five years in advance. On Monday, Blue Sky told investors in its Blue Sky Private Equity … Continue reading

12 March 2019 (TheAge) – Oil and gas giants shed billions after Norwegian fund’s divestment

(12 March 2019, The Age, Business, p29, by Cole Latimer) ‘Australian energy companies shed more than $2.5 billion on Monday after Norway’s sovereign wealth fund’s decision to cut its global oil holdings, the rout even hitting companies the fund didn’t own.’ Read more at

11 March 2019 (AFR) – Mega super funds will make ASX less relevant says ex-Schroders chief Greg Cooper

(11 March 2019, AFR, p1, Joanna Mather, Jemima Whyte and Jonathan Shapiro) ‘Super funds are set to threaten the role of the Australian sharemarket as they grow larger under the weight of trillions of dollars of funds and move to take full ownership of companies rather than invest in them through shares. The biggest super … Continue reading

8 March 2019 (AFR) – ASX behind the scenes: Transitions dominate equities desks, dealing rooms

[COMMENT: Now this is some interesting behind-the-scenes reporting regarding share trading in the equity market, and some of the things that happen away from the retail share traders and investors.] (8 March 2019, AFR, p17, Sarah Thompson and Anthony Macdonald) ‘It’s the week after Australia’s interim results season and focus on equities desks and in … Continue reading

5 March 2019 (AFR) – Almost every Australian equity fund lagged the market last year

(5 March 2019, AFR, p29, Patrick Commins) ‘Almost nine in 10 actively managed mainstream Australian equity funds failed to beat the market last year, according to the latest figures from S&P Dow Jones Indices. The SPIVA scorecard is promoted by S&P as the “de facto scorekeeper of the ongoing active versus passive debate”, and surveys … Continue reading

2 March 2019 (AFR) – Death of the defensive stocks will reshape investor portfolios

(2 March 2019, AFR, p22, by James Thomson and Jonathan Shapiro) ‘The least important lesson investors could take from Warren Buffett’s billion-dollar loss on his investment in Kraft-Heinz is that even the greatest can get things wrong. This is much more than a story about Kraft-Heinz shares falling 25 per cent in a day – … Continue reading

27 Feb 2019 (TheAge,SMH) – Top-10 tips for not losing money in the share market

(27 February 2019, The Age, MONEY supplement, p2, by Marcus Padley) ‘You don’t have to be a genius to work out that if only we could avoid the losses, we would all be winners. The first rule of making money in the share market is not to lose it. So here are my top-10 tips … Continue reading

27 Feb 2019 (AFR) – How commodity price action can help investors cut through the noise

(27 February 2019, AFR, p23, Michael McCarthy) ‘Many investors are surprised that key resource stocks BHP and Rio Tinto are trading at or near their highest share prices since the global financial crisis (GFC). Both individual and institutional investors are generally underweight in these stocks. The prevailing market narrative has Europe on the verge of … Continue reading

26 Feb 2019 (TheAge) – Appen rockets on ‘mega trend’ of artificial intelligence

(26 February 2019, The Age, Business, p27, by Cara Waters and Lucy Battersby) ‘Shares in the search and language dataset company Appen rocketed on Monday on the back of its full-year results driven by the “mega trend” of artificial intelligence. Appen’s revenue increased 120 per cent to $364 million and underlying post-tax profit increased 148 per … Continue reading

26 Feb 2019 (TheAge) – Former AFL player loses $160m as GetSwift sinks on legal action

(26 February 2019, The Age, Business, p27, by Colin Kruger) ‘GetSwift shares tested record lows as the market reacted to Friday’s late news that the company and two of its executives, Bane Hunter and former Melbourne Football Club player Joel Macdonald, had been sued by the corporate regulator. GetSwift said it would vigorously defend itself against … Continue reading

13 Feb 2019 (TheAge) – Nearly $60 million in customer money mixed up at collapsed broker

(13 February 2019, The Age, Business, p25, by Sarah Danckert) ‘Administrators picking through the wreckage of one of the country’s largest online broking houses Halifax Investment Services, have found that $57 million in money invested by clients has been mixed up with funds belonging to the company. Halifax collapsed before Christmas, freezing $210 million invested … Continue reading

13 Feb 2019 (AFR online) – The 9 bad habits of highly ineffective investors

[COMMENT: Now many people will not necessarily agree with all of the items below (especially the one about timing the market because many of us know that you can), but it is one set of opinions from one ‘expert’. ] (13 February 2019, AFR online, by Shane Oliver) ‘In the upside-down world logic that applies … Continue reading

9 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Banking Royal Commission: now you will get what you pay for in financial advice

(9 February 2019, AFR, p30, by Ben Smythe) ‘As highlighted in the royal commission, people paid a lot of money for what they thought was financial advice. But in fact what they were paying for were expensive financial products (in-house superannuation, managed fund funds etc) with little or no financial advice that was specific to … Continue reading

9 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Banking royal commission: what it means for you

(9 February 2019, AFR, p28, by Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon) ‘Get set for changes to how you pay your financial planner, get a mortgage and what you do with your super when you move jobs.’ ‘One of the few unresolved consumer questions about the royal commission report Kenneth Hayne delivered to the government this week is: “Who … Continue reading

6 Feb 2019 (TheAge) – Hayne report kicks true reform down the road … again

[COMMENT: Here is a good summary of financial institution disasters in recent years, including the highlighted ones below. But why do they continue to happen, almost cyclically?] (6 February 2019, The Age, p21, by Andrew Linden and Warren Staples) ‘Every 10 to 15 years it’s the same. Since financial deregulation in the 1980s, we’ve had … Continue reading

5 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Argo Investments predicts volatile 2019 for ASX investors

(5 February 2019, AFR, p15, by Simon Evans) ‘The managing director of the $7 billion Argo Investments says 2019 is likely to be as volatile as last year because there are so many local uncertainties still to be resolved including the severity of the housing downturn, the Hayne royal commission fallout and the federal election. … Continue reading

2 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Find your super fund in the top performers

(2 February 2019, AFR, p28, by Joanna Mather) ‘Unlisted assets have again proved their worth for superannuation savers. The best-performing funds managed to weather the volatility of 2018 to end the year in positive territory, with the median growth fund returning 0.8 per cent for the year. In an exclusive to AFR Weekend, research house … Continue reading

2 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Hedge funds sell and short banks ahead of banking royal commission final report

(2 February 2019, AFR, p23, by James Frost) ‘Bank stocks stumbled on Friday as hedge funds and international investors bet the publication of Commissioner Ken Hayne’s final recommendations would provide a catalyst for further falls.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try:

1 Feb 2019 (TheAge) – Labor franking shake-up plan could spark buybacks, special dividends

(1 February 2019, The Age, Business, p22, by Clancy Yeates) ‘The spectre of a changes to dividend taxes under a Labor government has sparked fresh predictions that some of Australia’s largest companies could pay special dividends, or launch off-market share buybacks to get funds back to shareholders before the policy is put in place. The … Continue reading

21 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Year of shame for fund managers? – Why are Australia’s large cap fund managers failing to beat the index?

[COMMENT: This article is a great insight into the (contrarian) performance of fund managers and equity markets. It is well worth reading the full article – see link at the bottom.] (21 January 2019, AFR, p32, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘Jack Bogle, the father of index investing who passed away on Thursday, would not have been … Continue reading

18 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Little-known Panther Trust slays fundie competition in 2018 Mercer survey

(18 January 2019, AFR, p1, by: Vesna Poljak, Sarah Turner and Jonathan Shapiro) ‘A little-known stockpicker based out of a serviced office in Crows Nest, five kilometres from the Sydney CBD, has defeated 92 other investors overseeing tens of billions of dollars to seize the crown of best long-only Australian shares strategy in Mercer’s 2018 … Continue reading

18 Jan 2019 (TheAge) – Super funds defy sharemarket volatility to finish year just ahead

[COMMENT: Here we go again… some commentary on the performance of superannuation funds. I have noted previously that this is a very difficult exercise because some of the funds are rather different to others (eg. not all ‘balanced funds’ are the same), and it is difficult for retail investors to usefully compare the results. Anyhow, … Continue reading