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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 359

  • 27 May 2020
  • 3

We recently sold the family home we have lived in since 1989 for a high multiple of the original purchase price. Does that make us good investors? No. Did we pick a particularly fine house? No. The prices say more about our age than our skill. It simply means we live in Sydney and we allowed the investment to grow over a long time without selling any part of it. There's a powerful equity investing lesson here.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 358

  • 20 May 2020

One of the many victims of COVID-19 is Australia as a private sector, market-based economy. It's become a public-subsidised economy. Most workers are on some type of government support, and the downturn is disguised in the official numbers. Last week's unemployment rate of 6.2% is fiction, as most workers are either unemployed, paid by the government or they have given up looking for work. How do we climb out of the valley?

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 357

  • 13 May 2020

There is a remarkable concentration similarity between the Australian and US stock markets that has delivered poor results for Australians and great results for Americans (and global investors). As the share prices of five Australian banks have tanked, the prices of five US technology companies have surged. Each group now represents 20% of their respective indexes, but the journey has been a disaster for many Australians.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 356

  • 7 May 2020
  • 3

Few investors are as influential as Warren Buffett, although for the moment, the market is ignoring his caution. The annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway revealed Buffett did not use the heavy market falls in February to buy shares. Rather than 'buy when others are fearful', he was a net seller of US$6 billion for the quarter, disposing of all airline shares. Berkshire is sitting on US$137 billion in cash, suggesting he expects better buying opportunities to come.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 355

  • 30 April 2020
  • 3

May Day delivered a reality check with a fall of 5% in the S&P/ASX300 after rising 8.8% in April. Hopes of a V-shape recovery are optimistic but Australian investors are reacting to market volatility with polar opposite portfolio changes. While one cohort has rushed for cash and safety in the crisis, another group has seized a share-buying opportunity. The S&P/ASX300 bottomed on 23 March at 4,500 and has since risen to about 5,200, but whether those brave enough to buy equities will be rewarded, only time will tell.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 354

  • 22 April 2020
  • 4

The impact of central bank activity on stock and bond markets is so pervasive that 'don't fight the Fed' has become a cliché. In fact, clichés are thriving in the coronavirus pandemic. We hear 'the cure is worse than the disease', events are 'unprecedented' and 'black swans', hotels and ships are 'Petri dishes', while 'we're all in this together' but it's 'the worst since the Great Depression' before we 'come out on the other side'. And yes, yes, yes, we know 'when the tide goes out, we can see who's been swimming naked'.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 353

  • 16 April 2020
  • 2

The Great Lockdown will be the worst downturn since the Great Depression, says the IMF. It warned this week that the Australian economy will slump by 6.7% in 2020, followed by a recovery in 2021. While the economy is not the stock market, there's a disconnection at the moment. Despite the poor outlook, price/earnings ratios for both the S&P/ASX200 and the S&P500 are still well above long-term averages.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 352

  • 9 April 2020
  • 2

The stock market usually bottoms well before positive data shows a turning point. The number of strong days in the market recently is a testament to the willingness of some investors to look through COVID-19 to a future of vaccines and economic stimulus. But as countries force business shut downs and demand people stay home, timing of sustained recovery is a coin toss.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 351

  • 1 April 2020
  • 25

The $130 billion wage stimulus is astounding in its generosity and scope. It's equivalent to the annual budgets for defence, education and health combined. A cafe owner told me a casual dishwasher who was paid $60 for two hours work a week now wants the $1,500 fortnightly payment. Shane Oliver exclusively explains where $200 billion will come from, and some longer-term consequences.    

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 350

We have reached a critical moment in the coronavirus fight, and this edition brings some heavy-hitting opinions from Warwick McKibbin, Christopher Joye and Rob Arnott, plus three other articles on implications. The next two weeks will deliver a major moment in history when President Donald Trump decides whether to ignore medical advice and lessons from other countries.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 349

  • 18 March 2020

The analysts who correctly predicted the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak in China as early as January 2020 were mainly right for the wrong reason. They said the quarantining of 400 million people would severely disrupt global manufacturing because China is the largest exporter of intermediate goods and produces at least 20% of products used in worldwide supply chains.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 348

  • 12 March 2020

There's only one subject that matters in financial markets at the moment, and this edition features updated views on coronavirus from leading experts such as Roger Montgomery, Hamish Douglass, Charlie Jamieson and Justin McCarthy.

Most viewed in recent weeks

Baseline outlook for economic recovery is too optimistic

We cannot throw our hands up in the air and say 'this time around, it's simply too hard'. Having no macro view is unhelpful, but many of the baseline scenarios are overly optimistic, says the former CEO of Westpac and now Chairman of Chi-X Australia.

10 undervalued stocks if you're worried about volatility

Amid the coronavirus-induced turmoil, many quality names are trading at a discount to fair value, according to Morningstar analysts. A smaller list of companies also screen for earnings certainty.

Will our government embrace these three reforms?

COVID-19 is an opportunity for a crucial policy reset, but what does that really mean? Business is hoping for three big reforms, but there are massive barriers to be overcome.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 357

There is a remarkable concentration similarity between the Australian and US stock markets that has delivered poor results for Australians and great results for Americans (and global investors). As the share prices of five Australian banks have tanked, the prices of five US technology companies have surged. Each group now represents 20% of their respective indexes, but the journey has been a disaster for many Australians.

  • 13 May 2020

Don't invest just for yield: the smarter way to generate income

Investors often overlook the capital risk in high-yielding stocks. It's better to ensure capital grows and investors can sell a portion each year to make up for the shortfall in income from dividends.

8 reasons business has little to learn from 'The Last Dance'

Everyone seems to be watching The Last Dance, a fascinating sports documentary about the pursuit of excellence by one of the greatest athletes of all time. Let's not stretch the business analogy too far.

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