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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

15 March 2019 (AFR) – ACTU claims business is ‘afraid’ of $1.4trn in workers’ super

(15 March 2019, AFR, p1, Joanna Mather) ‘The Australian Council of Trade Unions has declared that the $1.4 trillion accumulated in industry superannuation funds is workers’ money that the union movement will use as an industrial relations weapon to force companies to raise wages and conditions. ACTU president Michele O’Neil told a superannuation conference on … 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 (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

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

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) – Life-cycle products disappoint over five years

(2 February 2019, AFR, p29, by Joanna Mather) ‘They’re used by retail funds as their default option but the performance is underwhelming. In more bad news for the battered retail superannuation sector, “life-cycle” products are delivering underwhelming results compared to traditional growth options provided by not-for-profit super funds. In its first analysis of five-year returns … Continue reading

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

23 Jan 2019 (AFR) – US investors more bearish than bullish

(23 January 2019, AFR, p29, by Timothy Moore) ‘The S&P 500 is up 6.5 per cent this year, yet the advance has so far failed to offset lingering bearishness among US investors. The latest weekly survey of investor sentiment by the American Association of Individual Investors showed that pessimism about the short-term direction of 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

5 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Financial Review: hedge funds’ best long and short ideas 2019

[COMMENT: For what it’s worth, this article some thoughts and opinions about ideas for investing/trading in the year ahead.] (5 January 2019, AFR, p18, by: Jonathan Shapiro and Vesna Poljak) ‘Australian hedge fund managers are betting that real estate companies bear the brunt of a property market downturn while childcare and consumer stocks are also … Continue reading

2 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Investors retreat: Investment mortgage loans grow at slowest pace on record in November

(2 January 2019, AFR, p29,  by Michael Bleby) ‘Investors retreated further in November, as investment mortgage borrowing grew just 1.1 per cent, its slowest annual pace on record. Lending figures reported by the Reserve Bank of Australia on Monday showed that the stock of investor housing loans stood at $593.7 billion for the month in … Continue reading

2 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Investment: Superannuation and house prices post dire result in 2018

[COMMENT: The regular readers of my blog entries will know that I don’t think much about reports such as this news story, because it uses a rather arbitrary start date for measuring the fund performance. For fund managers who need to report their performance to their own investors, and to the industry, then they have … Continue reading

22 Dec 2018 (AFR) – Smart Investor: Asset allocation: Understanding the basics

(22 December 2018, AFR, p46, by James Weir, director of Steward Wealth) ‘When you build your portfolio, start with the big picture. Like any project, when you construct a portfolio you’re best to start with the big picture and work toward the detail, which means you start with the overall asset allocation. Asset allocation is … Continue reading

21 Dec 2018 (AFR) – BWX slashes full-year outlook, stock tumbles 47pc

[COMMENT: Note to self… When studying the price charts, and noting a fall in the share price, look for company announcements, and especially an earnings or profit downgrade. If so, it might be time to close an open position.] (21 December 2018, AFR, p19, by Carrie LaFrenz) ‘Just days before Christmas, BWX Limited has revealed … Continue reading

12 Dec 2018 (AFR) – High-frequency trading loses its spark: ASIC

[COMMENT: Now this is interesting. In recent years there has been concern amongst investors and traders that HFT was taking over the markets and making it harder for retail investors to trade for a living. But if this report is true, then it’s not so bad.] (12 December 2018, AFR, p17, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘The … Continue reading

12 Dec 2018 (AFR) – Treasury Wines’ painful $4 billion spillage

[COMMENT: Technical analysts (aka chart readers) could have spotted a potential loser here, some months before the share price tanked. They would have trimmed any losses and quite the stock.] (12 December 2018, AFR, p17, by Simon Evans) ‘Old-school investors who believe share sales by directors and top executives are a potential danger signal have … Continue reading

26 Nov 2018 (AFR) – Market minds: Looking through the P/E multiple to unlock value

[COMMENT: I cannot help but comment on this article. It includes a good discussion about the usefulness, or otherwise, of the PE multiple when looking for shares to buy. After reading this one I became even more convinced that the PE might generally be useful (eg. lower PE is better), but that it cannot be … Continue reading

14 Nov 2018 (TheAge,SMH,MONEY) – ‘Lazy’ advisers push Australians to invest overseas

[Comment: Here are some an interesting comments about investing local versus overseas, and whether to diversify your portfolio, or include managed funds, or even heed the “advice” of your financial planner.] (14 November 2018, The Age, SMH, MONEY supplement, p2, by Marcus Padley) ‘I remember going to New York in 2006 and John, my Wall … Continue reading

10 Nov 2018 (AFR) – Super investors warned about turbo-charging ‘safe’ funds to boost performance

[COMMENT: This is one topic that has puzzled myself for a long time – How on earth can we compare all of the ‘balanced’ super funds, for example, when they don’t use the same definition for ‘balanced’? We’re actually comparing apples with oranges, so to speak. So performance comparisons are out the window. And then, … Continue reading

1 Nov 2018 (AFR) – Regional correction: small investors facing losses on service stations, childcare and shops

(1 November 2018, AFR, p35, by Larry Schlesinger) ‘Self-managed super funds, mum-and-dad investors and wealthy individuals who poured hundreds of millions of dollars of cheap debt into service station investments in regional towns on the promise of high returns are staring down the barrel of significant losses as demand for such property plummets. A new report by … Continue reading

31 Oct 2018 (AFR) – Roll up, roll up for the next blow-up – Avoiding Ponzis in the profit hunt

(31 OCtober 2018, AFR, p32, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘There’s a joke among fund managers that the excuse they often hear from a CEO after he or she has blown a company up is “it was only the last acquisition that didn’t work”. But the way of the ‘roll-up’, if you’re a stock market cynic, is … Continue reading

23 Oct 2018 (AFR) – Howard Marks says markets are in eighth innings

(23 October 2018, AFR, p17, by Jonathan Shapiro) ‘Legendary investor Howard Marks says he can’t predict how the stockmarket will respond to rising interest rates as central banks end a multi-year period of cheap money. But the uncertainty around the impending end of the unprecedented monetary “policy experiment” should force investors to reduce risk taking. … Continue reading

20 Oct 2018 (AFR) – Drums are beating for value investing after growth’s off-key turn

[COMMENT: This article discusses the pros and cons of value investing versus growth, and the notion of the same. I still don’t understand it. Can someone clearly define value investing for us? And as a technical analyst who follows the charts, I still think that just about everything we need to know is locked up … Continue reading

17 Oct 2018 (AFR) – Top investors cautious about sharemarket outlook

[COMMENT: The headline says “Top investors cautious…”. I wonder if this sort of observation is relevant to the average retail investor? Or to the short term share market trader?] (17 October 2018, AFR, p23, by Stewart Oldfield) ‘Beyond the current bout of market volatility, some of the country’s most influential investors are growing more concerned … Continue reading

4 Oct 2018 (AFR) – Six signals tougher times are on their way

(4 October 2018, AFR, p24, by Simon Evans) ‘Australia has managed to avert a recession for 27 years, and the extent of a house price surge in Sydney and Melbourne after the country came out of the Global Financial Crisis relatively unscathed, had many experts baffled. But there are some worrying signs starting to emerge … Continue reading

7 Sept 2018 (AFR) – Weight of passive money to blame for earnings season’s wild share price swings

(7 September 2018, AFR, p9, by: Sarah Turner, Ben Potter) ‘Superannuation funds turning to passive investing styles to lower their costs may have contributed to wild swings in company share prices during the latest reporting season, according to Goldman Sachs. The US bank’s Australian equity strategist, Matthew Ross, noted a very large increase in the … Continue reading

7 Sept 2018 (AFR) – Global investors flock to Aussie bonds as economy roars

(7 September 2018, AFR, p6, by Patrick Commins) ‘Offshore investors piled into Australian government bonds over the three months to June, as the accelerating economy and improving budget position makes our securities more attractive to offshore buyers. Gross domestic product lifted 3.4 per cent over the year to June, official figures on Wednesday showed, accompanied … Continue reading

13 Aug 2018 (AFR) – Bruised absolute return funds are dumped by investors

(13 August 2018, AFR, p19, by Owen Walker) ‘London |Investors have pulled billions of euros from Europe’s biggest absolute return funds this year as sentiment has turned against a strategy once heralded as the future of active asset management. The controversial move by GAM, the Swiss asset manager, to prevent clients withdrawing money from its … Continue reading