Register For Our Mailing List

Register to receive our free weekly newsletter including editorials.

Home / 338

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 338

  •   1 January 2020

We start the new year with some previous highlights. Chris Cuffe has selected his favourite articles from 2019, and our free ebook collates 30 of my interviews with leading global and local financial markets experts.

Who picked it in 2019?

Hardly anyone expected the massive 2019 equity market rally, and showing the difficulty of the forecasting game, consider the top three stockmarkets for 2019. First, Russia up 39%, despite US sanctions and illiquid markets. Second, Greece up 38%, subject to an IMF bailout amid a financial crisis a few years ago, when we were told nobody pays their taxes. Third, Ireland up 25%, with its exposure to Brexit and EU doubts. So much for investors hating uncertainty and geopolitical risks. The best commodity was palladium and the strongest currency among 130 tracked by Bloomberg was the Ukrainian hryvnia. Who knew? We have White Papers on 2020 outlooks here and here for those planning their portfolios for the new year.

30 interviews with investing experts from around the world

Even after my four decades in this business, these chats were full of new discoveries. For example, it was fascinating to meet a few times in California with Nobel Laureate, Harry Markowitz, the father of Modern Portfolio Theory. He was the first to specify assembling a portfolio based on maximising expected returns from assets for a given level of risk. He described to me his 'moment of truth', the time he went 'aha!'.

Article highlights from 2019

On Chris's selections, the leading subject in the first half of the year was Labor's franking credits policy, which generated over a thousand responses across many articles. The Coalition is still savouring its win on this policy (Goldstein is Tim Wilson's electorate):

Chris mainly focusses on articles which raised issues we will continue to debate in coming years. In addition to these 2019 highlights and the ebook, Lex Hall provides a selection of summer reading for those relaxing over January, as well as a short video on 2019 highlights and 2020 prospects. Plus for anyone who missed two popular articles, we rerun the OK Boomer 'fess up' and the summary of the fruitless search for yield without risk.


Graham Hand, Managing Editor

For a PDF version of Chris Cuffe's favourite articles from 2019, click here.



Leave a Comment:


Most viewed in recent weeks

Lessons when a fund manager of the year is down 25%

Every successful fund manager suffers periods of underperformance, and investors who jump from fund to fund chasing results are likely to do badly. Selecting a manager is a long-term decision but what else?

2022 election survey results: disillusion and disappointment

In almost 1,000 responses, our readers differ in voting intentions versus polling of the general population, but they have little doubt who will win and there is widespread disappointment with our politics.

Now you can earn 5% on bonds but stay with quality

Conservative investors who want the greater capital security of bonds can now lock in 5% but they should stay at the higher end of credit quality. Rises in rates and defaults mean it's not as easy as it looks.

30 ETFs in one ecosystem but is there a favourite?

In the last decade, ETFs have become a mainstay of many portfolios, with broad market access to most asset types, as well as a wide array of sectors and themes. Is there a favourite of a CEO who oversees 30 funds?

Betting markets as election predictors

Believe it or not, betting agencies are in the business of making money, not predicting outcomes. Is there anything we can learn from the current odds on the election results?

Meg on SMSFs – More on future-proofing your fund

Single-member SMSFs face challenges where the eventual beneficiaries (or support team in the event of incapacity) will be the member’s adult children. Even worse, what happens if one or more of the children live overseas?

Latest Updates


'It’s your money' schemes transfer super from young to old

Policy proposals allow young people to access their super for a home bought from older people who put the money back into super. It helps some first buyers into a home earlier but it may push up prices.

Investment strategies

Rising recession risk and what it means for your portfolio

In this environment, safe-haven assets like Government bonds act as a diversifier given the uncorrelated nature to equities during periods of risk-off, while offering a yield above term deposit rates.

Investment strategies

‘Multidiscipline’: the secret of Bezos' and Buffett’s wild success

A key attribute of great investors is the ability to abstract away the specifics of a particular domain, leaving only the important underlying principles upon which great investments can be made.


Keep mandatory super pension drawdowns halved

The Transfer Balance Cap limits the tax concessions available in super pension funds, removing the need for large, compulsory drawdowns. Plus there are no requirements to draw money out of an accumulation fund.


Confession season is upon us: What’s next for equity markets

Companies tend to pre-position weak results ahead of 30 June, leading to earnings downgrades. The next two months will be critical for investors as a shift from ‘great expectations’ to ‘clear explanations’ gets underway.


Australia, the Lucky Country again?

We may have been extremely unlucky with the unforgiving weather plaguing the East Coast of Australia this year. However, on the economic front we are by many measures in a strong position relative to the rest of the world.

Exchange traded products

LIC discounts widening with the market sell-off

Discounts on LICs and LITs vary with market conditions, and many prominent managers have seen the value of their assets fall as well as discount widen. There may be opportunities for gains if discounts narrow.



© 2022 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

The data, research and opinions provided here are for information purposes; are not an offer to buy or sell a security; and are not warranted to be correct, complete or accurate. Morningstar, its affiliates, and third-party content providers are not responsible for any investment decisions, damages or losses resulting from, or related to, the data and analyses or their use. Any general advice or ‘regulated financial advice’ under New Zealand law has been prepared by Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd (ABN: 95 090 665 544, AFSL: 240892) and/or Morningstar Research Ltd, subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc, without reference to your objectives, financial situation or needs. For more information refer to our Financial Services Guide (AU) and Financial Advice Provider Disclosure Statement (NZ). You should consider the advice in light of these matters and if applicable, the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision to invest. Past performance does not necessarily indicate a financial product’s future performance. To obtain advice tailored to your situation, contact a professional financial adviser. Articles are current as at date of publication.
This website contains information and opinions provided by third parties. Inclusion of this information does not necessarily represent Morningstar’s positions, strategies or opinions and should not be considered an endorsement by Morningstar.

Website Development by Master Publisher.