07
Dec

Review of 2017, outlook for 2018 - still in the 'sweet spot', but expect more volatility ahead

2017 – a relatively smooth year By the standards of recent years, 2017 was relatively quiet. Sure there was the usual “worry list” – about Trump, elections in Europe, China as always, North Korea and the perennial property crash in Australia. And there was a mania in bitcoin. But overall it has been pretty positive for investors:
30
Nov

Why cautious optimism is better for your investment health than perma pessimism

At the start of last year, with global and Australian shares down around 20% from their April/May 2015 highs, the big worry was that the global economy was going back into recession and that there will be another Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Now, with share markets having had a strong run higher, it seems to have been…
23
Nov

Is Australia's economy 'built on shaky foundations' that are 'about to collapse'?

I don’t normally comment directly on articles by others but an article by Matt Barrie with Craig Tindale called “Australia’s economy is built on shaky foundations, and it’s about to collapse,” has been sent to me several times for comment so I thought I would make an exception this time. The gist of the article seems to…
23
Nov

Bubbles, busts, investor psychology...and bitcoin

The surge in bitcoin has attracted much interest. Over the last five years, it has soared from $US12 to over $US8000; this year it’s up 760%. Its enthusiasts see it as the currency of the future and increasingly as a way to instant riches with rapid price gains only reinforcing this view. An alternative view is that…
10
Nov

The medium term investment return remains constrained

The last five years have seen strong returns for diversified investors thanks to double digit gains in shares (after a rebound from a mini bear market around the Eurozone crisis) and solid returns from unlisted commercial property and infrastructure. For example, balanced superannuation funds saw median returns of 9.3% per annum over the five years to September…
25
Oct

Five great charts on investing for income (or cash flow)

The low interest rates of recent times along with periodic turmoil in investment markets has provided us with a reminder of the importance of the income (cash) flow or yield an investment provides. It’s particularly important for those relying on investment income to fund their living expenses. As with all investment topics, investing for income can seem…
18
Oct

Where are we in the global investment cycle and what's the risk of a 1987 style crash?

This month of October often creates apprehension amongst investors given its historic track record with the 1929 and 1987 share market crashes. And it was in October 2007 that US shares peaked ahead of 50% plus falls (in most share markets) through the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). From the post-GFC share market lows in March 2009, US…
16
Oct

Will Australian House Prices Crash? Five reasons why it's more complicated than you think

A common narrative on the Australian housing market is that it’s in a giant speculative bubble propelled by tax breaks, low interest rates and “liar loans” that have led to massive mortgage stress and that it’s all about to go bust, bringing down the banks and the economy with it. Recent signs of price falls – notably…