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17 Aug 2019 (AFR) – Strong earnings weather global market sell-off

(17 August 2019, AFR, p22, William McInnes, Reporter) ‘The second week of earnings season proved difficult for many companies, as a global market sell-off and fears of recession pushed the vast majority of shares on the local market lower. The S&P/ASX 200 was caught in the worldwide drawdown, falling 178.9 points, or 2.7 per cent, … Continue reading

16 Aug 2019 (AFR) – Big US investors use summer sell-off to ramp up bets

(16 August 2019, AFR, p29, David Randall and Jennifer Ablan) ‘New York | The summer sell-off is finally here – and not all US investors are rattled by it. After a record-setting first half of the year that pushed US stock markets to new highs, a more than 760-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial … Continue reading

15 Aug 2019 (AFR) – A contrarian investor’s guide to the trade war

(15 August 2019, AFR, p29, Patrick Commins, Columnist) ‘There are scenarios where a US-China trade deal happens sooner than the market believes, which could lead to a “violent” reaction in a very one-sided market. As 10-year bond yields in Australia fell below 1 per cent for the first time last week, my colleague wondered whether we … Continue reading

10 Aug 2019 (AFR) – Trade war may be over – Stalemate could drive search-for-yield rally

[COMMENT: This article has a very interesting take on the current trade war that seems to be just a tit-for-tat exchange; but which could be a whole lot more.] (10 August 2019, AFR, p29,  Christopher Joye, Columnist) ‘While trade tensions have recently erupted, this may presage a permanent impasse that could unleash the mother of … Continue reading

10 Aug 2019 (AFR) – Low rates are the weeds of the equity market

(10 August 2019, AFR, p23, Vesna Poljak, Markets Editor) ‘The Australian cash rate is inching closer to the zero lower bound, the same sharemarket that hit a record high in July just had its worst week in nine months, and earnings season is off to a rocky start. On what might eventually be recalled as … Continue reading

6 Aug 2019 (TheAge) – Worst day of the year for ASX as China’s currency play wipes $38bn from stocks

(6 August 2019, The Age, Business, p27, By William McInnes) ‘Tech stocks led a sharemarket slump on Monday, as the Chinese yuan dropped below a key level, sparking selling across Asian markets and pushing local shares to their worst session since December. Selling in growth stocks was heavy as investors looked to exit riskier stocks. … Continue reading

3 Aug 2019 (AFR) – How to find the best returns in a low-rate world

(3 August 2019, AFR, p28, William McInnes, Reporter) ‘For 20 of the past 30 years of investing, there were some certainties. Investing in equities would give you a higher rate of return coupled with a higher risk premium, bonds were a steady and stable form of income, and cash, while delivering only low returns, came … Continue reading

29 July 2019 (AFR) – Buying ‘quality’ stocks is no silver bullet

[COMMENT: This is an interesting article for all of the investors who are interested in the discussions about ‘quality stocks’, or value versus growth investing.] (29 July 2019, AFR, p28, James Thomson) ‘If the Merlon research shows us nothing else it’s that lazy investment slogans – such as “always buy quality” – shouldn’t be followed … Continue reading

29 July 2019 (AFR) – Separating earnings sentiment from earnings reality

(29 July 2019, AFR, p21, Jun Bei Liu) <snipped…> ‘…With August reporting season now mere days away from commencing, the wave of recent earnings guidance downgrades will be telling. With actual earnings performances now tallied and awaiting release, will there be enough positive surprises to drive continued share price out-performance?’ Read more at (might … Continue reading

27 July 2019 (AFR) – Revealed: Superannuation’s top performers

[COMMENT: I don’t like to post references and articles like this one without adding some over-riding words of caution. The numbers can be readily juggled depending on the start date of the period under consideration. And, of course, past returns are no guarantee of future performance. It will be interesting to re-visit this study in … Continue reading

25 July 2019 (AFR) – Retirees will scream ‘blue murder’ in a crash

[COMMENT: Now this is a very contentious topic – how to define the various terms used to categorise managed funds and more importantly superannuation funds – growth, balanced or conservative. There seems to be some very wide variations between the fund managers – which many people would call ‘misleading’.] (25 July 2019, AFR, p8, Joanna … Continue reading

25 July 2019 (TheAge) – ‘Short-term sugar hit’: ASX brushes records and sparks warnings

(25 July 2019, The Age, Business, p26, By Lucy Battersby and Clancy Yeates) ‘The local sharemarket’s brush with record levels has sparked warnings that the factors driving the growth, especially cheap debt, are not linked to strong company performance. The Australian All Ordinaries index closed at a record high level on Wednesday at 6862 points, … Continue reading

24 July 2019 (AFR) – IPOs rarer in first half, but performing better

(24 July 2019, AFR, p13, Michael Bailey, Rich List Editor) ‘Only 23 companies joined the Australian Securities Exchange in the first six months of 2019, barely half the five-year average, but the group that did list has trounced the performance of the broader All Ordinaries Index. While there were 39 initial public offerings in the … Continue reading

24 July 2019 (AFR) – APRA will need to focus on risk-adjusted returns

(24 July 2019, AFR, p9, Joanna Mather, Superannuation writer) ‘The chairman of the 2009 Super System Review, Jeremy Cooper, has backed calls for more stringent reporting standards for superannuation funds, including uniform definitions for growth and defensive assets. Some super funds have been accused of mischaracterising growth assets as defensive ones, which makes returns look better … Continue reading

18 July 2019 (AFR) – Insider selling a clear signal of tough times ahead

[COMMENT: This article might be of interest to share market investors, giving some clues about how to be forewarned of possible company share price downside.] (18 July 2019, AFR, p29, Chris Stott) ‘For equity investors seeking that elusive edge, the buying and selling of a company’s shares by directors and executives can offer a compelling … Continue reading

5 July 2019 (AFR) – Broking bad: warnings of an advisory wipeout

[COMMENT: This is an interesting expose into the world of stoke broking, and some of the things that can go wrong. Bottom line? – Maybe don’t trust everything that everyone tells you.] (5 July 2019, AFR, p20, Liam Walsh, Reporter) ‘Questions are being raised about why one of Australia’s biggest stockbrokers did not disclose internal … Continue reading

29 June 2019 (AFR) – Twin obsessions to take market higher as fiscal year dawns

(29 June 2019, AFR, p26, Sarah Turner, Reporter) ‘Income and growth-obsessed investors, emboldened by cheap money, have powered the S&P/ASX 200 to its best fiscal first-half performance in almost 30 years, with the market’s record high in sight as the new financial year dawns. Investors piled into stocks over the year firm in the view … Continue reading

22 June 2019 (AFR) – Cheaper money pushes investors into riskier positions

(22 June 2019, AFR, p22, William McInnes, Reporter) ‘Global sharemarkets were pushed to record highs this week as dovish central banks herded buyers into the equity markets, with expectations of cheaper money and additional stimulus pushing investors into riskier positions. Investor optimism was also buoyed by hopes a US-China trade war truce could be reached … Continue reading

19 June 2019 (AFR) – How the inverted yield curve affects Australia

(19 June 2019, AFR, p28,  Stirling Larkin, Columnist) ‘Japan, our second-largest trading partner, is pulling out of our government bonds – with huge implications for the economy. Since 1968, the US economy has endured seven recessions and Australia has followed suit in six of these, where each was preceded by an inversion of the US … Continue reading

19 June 2019 (AFR) – ‘The debt bomb is still ticking’ – Household debt burden still casts a shadow

(19 June 2019, AFR, p22, Paulina Duran and Jonathan Barrett) ‘Investors in Australian mortgage bonds are demanding higher premiums to buy the riskiest tranches of new debt, as a slowing economy stokes concerns a property downturn could get worse and increase home loan defaults. High-yield investors are receiving up to 40 basis points more than … Continue reading

8 June 2019 (AFR) – ‘Check your airbags’: Investors brace for creative destruction

(8 June 2019, AFR, p15, Patrick Commins, Columnist) ‘Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect among the many troubling features of today’s global financial markets is that few profess to know where we go from here. This is not a statement in the sense of “nobody knows what tomorrow will bring”, although that is undoubtedly true. Rather, … Continue reading

8 June 2019 (AFR) – Banks slash savers’ rates and term deposits

(8 June 2019, AFR, p6, Duncan Hughes, Reporter) ‘Lenders are slashing term deposits and savings rates by more than double the 25 basis point reduction in cash rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia, with more cuts expected, according to analysts. Some lenders, such as Westpac and ANZ, made term deposit rate cuts on Tuesday … Continue reading

3 June 2019 (AFR) – Why we are all carry investors now

(3 June 2019, AFR, p20,  Tamar Hamlyn) ‘Market movements have seen bond yields pushed to multi-decade lows, with Australia leading the way on expectations of a cut in the cash rate on Tuesday.’ <snipped…> ‘But with a large chunk of the global bond market now yielding below cash or below zero, this is driving a … Continue reading

1 June 2019 (AFR) – Fundies seek to run down cash exposure, buying the dip

[COMMENT: I can’t help but think that “buying the dip” now, as explained below, is potentially very dangerous – just in case the current confirmed downtrend in global share markets continues, as some pundits expect. We remember the Dow Theory comments on this – a downtrend is a downtrend and is expected to continue, until … Continue reading

31 May 2019 (AFR) – Growth concerns drag ASX into the red

(31 May 2019, AFR, online, William McInnes) ‘Australian shares ended the week lower as fears of a recession in the US soured investor sentiment. The S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 59.1 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 6396.9 while the broader All Ordinaries closed the week 53.8 points, or 0.8 per cent lower, at 6491.8.’ Read … Continue reading

31 May 2019 (AFR) – Time for investors to get cash savvy

(31 May 2019, AFR, online, Tony Featherstone, Finance writer) ‘With expensive markets and a falling cash rate, you need to become more strategic about cash – both for buying opportunities in a fall and to maximise returns. Selling shares and adding cash to portfolios has low appeal with the sharemarket rallying and the Reserve Bank … Continue reading

31 May 2019 (AFR) – ‘Frenzied’ rate cuts fall through 3pc benchmark to record lows

(31 May 2019, AFR, online, Duncan Hughes) ‘Borrowing rates have crashed through the 3 per cent benchmark to record lows as lenders aggressively compete for residential mortgage market share amid improving market sentiment and the prospect of easier lending conditions. The new one-year fixed rate of 2.99 per cent from Greater Bank, a NSW-based mutual, … Continue reading

30 April 2019 (AFR) – Confession season off to wobbly start

(30 April 2019, AFR, p29, Vesna Poljak, Markets Editor) ‘The Australian sharemarket arrives at the flagship equities conference of the year fresh off an 11-year high, and with a select group of highly desired stocks – Pro Medicus, Magellan Financial Group, Breville, Technology One, ASX and A2 Milk – trading at record levels. That can … Continue reading

29 April 2019 (AFR) – The threat to the fledgling retail corporate bond market

(29 April 2019, AFR, p16, Jonathan Shapiro) ‘The threat of class actions brought against trustees of failed corporate debt offerings could further derail efforts to grow a retail corporate bond market, as two looming defaults weigh on the sector. Individual investors that subscribed to bond offers by Mackay Sugar and ASX-listed Axsesstoday are facing the … Continue reading

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