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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 427 with weekend update

  •   30 September 2021
  • 5

The Weekend Edition includes a market update plus Morningstar adds links to two of its most popular articles from the week.

Weekend market update

From AAP Netdesk: A fourth consecutive week of ASX losses passed as investors brace for the end of pandemic stimulus. The market on Friday had its third biggest drop of the year, 2%, and all share categories were lower.
Financials, consumer discretionaries and property shares had the steepest falls.
Commonwealth Bank fared worst of the big four banks and dropped more than 4% to $100.08. ANZ, NAB and Westpac shed more than 2%. In mining, BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto all lost more than 2%. Travel was one of few industry groups to prosper as the market dropped 2.1% for the week.

From Shane Oliver, AMP Capital: 

Global shares fell over the past week amidst a long worry list including the US debt ceiling, the impact of power shortages and rising bond yields. Despite a bounce in US shares on Friday helped by promising reports regarding a covid treatment pill, for the week US shares fell -2.2%, Eurozone shares fell -2.8% and Japanese shares lost -4.9%. Chinese shares rose 0.4%. Global weakness saw Australian shares lose -2.1%.

September lived up to its name of being a bad month for shares with the month seeing US shares down -4.8%, global shares down -3.8% and Australian shares down -2.7%. For the week bond yields rose, oil prices rose, iron ore prices were mixed and metal prices fell. 

While a US Government shutdown has been avoided, the US debt ceiling needs to be lifted by around 18 October to avoid the US Government defaulting on its spending commitments. This may be a white knuckle ride up until the deadline but neither side wants to be seen as responsible for a Government default, but a share market riot may be needed to get this resolved.

On Friday, the S&P500 rose 1.2% and NASDAQ was up 0.8%


All in one week. All on one subject. All buying into the same problem. Let's do a roll call. The International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Council of Financial Regulators (CFR). The Treasurer. The Governor and Assistant Governor of the Reserve Bank (RBA). The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). The CEOs of ANZ and CBA ... enough abbreviations and acronyms to make us acrimonious.

What are they all fussing about? Suddenly, they've realised rapidly-rising house prices might cause financial instability, generational inequity, mortgage stress and who knows ... social unrest?

And because when you don't know what to do, you call an inquiry, Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, has asked the Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue to report on "the contribution of tax and regulation on housing affordability and supply". While it's not clear how it will discover anything not known to many previous inquiries, it keeps the problem bubbling along. Action is finally coming in the form of prudential controls, and we explore the steps that can be taken to cool a rampant market. Why is it taking so long?

Leading economist Saul Eslake asserts his strong views on housing affordability and the pampering to homeowners with policies that encourage house inflation. He says:

"For all the crocodile tears which politicians of all persuasions routinely shed about the difficulties facing those wishing to get their first foot on the property ladder, deep down they know that there are far more people who already own at least one property than there are who don’t, but who would like to."

Shane Oliver of AMP Capital and I recently appeared on Saturday Extra on Radio National, and Shane said:

“I think it’s grossly unfair … We can’t organise our property market in a way that makes it affordable for younger people without massive amounts of debt. This is a major social problem. The longer we leave it, it will lead to rising discontent and we’ve seen what that leads to in the US.”

On to investing subjects ...

This week's guest interview is with Jacob Mitchell, Founder of Antipodes in 2015 after 14 years at Platinum. What big lesson would he give his 20-year-old self, and what trends and companies does he like?

Two papers on the need for caution in assuming the great market performance of the last decade will be repeated. Joseph Davis warns investors to prepare for a decade of returns below historical averages. And Miles Staude shows data from a survey of 32,000 investors in 32 countries where expected returns are extrapolating from the recent past, which is highly unlikely over the next five to seven years. What is more realistic?

When Jon Kalkman distilled the franking credit debate into a basic principle, that large refunds were due to low rates of tax in the super system, it begged the follow up question ... so are the low super tax rates fair? This is the issue that people criticising franking should focus on.

Last week, before the market worried about tapering and potential rate rises, the jitters were caused by potential defaults by Chinese giant property developer, Evergrande. Andrew Parsons manages a global property trust and he has been checking around his contacts for the likely impact. In a link to our earlier pieces, he also notes China and the world are struggling with housing affordability issues.

The article on the age pension assets test was a blockbuster, generating over 30,000 views, and even the survey results was opened over 10,000 times. The survey itself attracted 3,500 responses, thanks for your participation. We thought a few comments, too long to include here, were worth highlighting as adding to the debate.

Two bonus articles from Morningstar for the weekend as selected by Editorial Manager Emma Rapaport.

Sigma has entered the race for Priceline owner Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, seeking to keep the health and beauty company out of Wesfarmers' hands. But the tie-up could face significant hurdles says Shane Ponraj. And Angus Hewitt says there's cause for optimism at a2 Milk and Invocare.

In the latest edition of the podcast, Wealth of Experience with Peter Warnes, we discuss moves to control house prices, the debate on the age pension assets test, cash-up super funds chasing long-term assets and the full interview with Jacob Mitchell.

This week's white paper comes from Capital Group detailing 10 themes likely to drive opportunities in emerging markets in the next 10 years.

Finally, a footnote to our article on the requirement for super funds to provide a retirement income strategy, which at the time was intended to apply to SMSFs as well as large funds. The Retirement Income Covenant Exposure Draft issued this week removes the need for SMSFs to comply.


Graham Hand, Managing Editor

A full PDF version of this week’s newsletter articles will be loaded into this editorial on our website by midday.

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October 01, 2021

I understand there was a time in Australia (1950’s?) when interest on a loan for home purchase and occupation was tax deductible without the current requirement that the loan be for income generation. Several countries do avail this exception to the “purpose of income generation” test. In the current climate of unaffordability for many, widening ratio of house price to income and liberal foreign investment rules, a return to this logic must surely be worth considering?

September 30, 2021

Stamp Duty is the killer - plus land releases - local government charges.

October 03, 2021

Dee, yes >35% of new home costs can be local and State Gov charges. There's 10% GST on the end home price & several Stamp Duty payments to start with.
The very large contributor to housing unaffordability that most articles, including the recent here, don't highlight.

October 03, 2021

So….. with all these buying expenses why do house prices keep going up?!
It’s all about interest rates and cheap money. The RBA have finally washed their hands of this (..copped out) and handed it back to Govt. the fix.
They are all culpable (RBA , Labor and Liberal).
They have effectively mortgaged the future of our children and grandchildren to the Banks and forced (mainly women) into work to pay for the “privilege” of having a home.
Shameful, irresponsible and negligent, becuase it’s been coming for years !!!

Steve mccarthy
September 30, 2021

The impending crisis for housing will be ugly for many. The RBA, APRA & Banks should hang their collective heads in shame to have allowed property valuations & lending to reach such extremes. Now they decide to do a review, laughable! Many families will end up broken, and the human side is always forgotten, swept aside like leaves on a footpath. A house is a property a home is where you live, trash this model and disaster waits. Anyone who believes for even a moment that you and buy a property and 6 months later sell it for 100’s of thousands more & avoid down the track untold mortgaged family misery is a fool.


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