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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 380

  • 22 October 2020

Former US Vice President Al Gore once told me he needed to raise only US$70,000 when he first ran for politics. Now Biden and Trump spend billions just on television advertising. Little wonder so many favours are owed after each election, and this time, it really matters. Plus investing insights from Kate Howitt, Hamish Douglass, Roger Montgomery, Phil Ruthven and Morningstar's top stock picks.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 379

  • 15 October 2020
  • 6

It is trite and obvious to say the future is uncertain, and while COVID-19 brings extra risks, markets are always unpredictable. However, investing conditions are now more difficult than ever, mainly because the defensive options for portfolios produce little income. We explore whether investing rules have changed with new input from Howard Marks.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 378

  • 8 October 2020

Budgets are forecasts, and more than most, Josh Frydenberg and Treasury waved a wet finger in the air in compiling the 2020 version. How many companies will now employ a new apprentice for $100 a week subsidy? Which back-of-the-envelope showed 3.5 million businesses would use the instant asset write off? And the $17.9 billion for super savings based on the YourSuper proposal is wishful thinking.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 377

  • 30 September 2020

The most significant change in asset allocation by Australian investors in recent years has been the move into global equities. It's been a canny trade for those who focussed on the US, especially great companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google. International equities experienced net inflows into ETFs of $722 million in August 2020 versus only $181 million for Australian equities. 

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 376

  • 24 September 2020
  • 2

The US tech index, the NASDAQ, peaked on 2 September 2020 at 12,058 and three weeks later closed at 10,632. On the same days, Apple hit US$137.98 and then fell to US$107.12. These falls of over 10% and 20% seem high but both were simply returning to their early August levels. It's hardly a rout when a month's gains are given back. The bigger issue is whether such stock corrections will scare off the retail 'Robinhood' traders.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 375

  • 16 September 2020
  • 5

There are many ways to value a company, but the most popular is to estimate the future cash flows and discount them to a present value using a chosen interest rate. Does it follow that when interest rates fall, companies become more valuable? Perhaps, but only if the cash flows remain unchanged, and in a recession, future earnings are more difficult to sustain. What do Buffett and Douglass and 150 years of data say?

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 374

  • 9 September 2020
  • 1

Suddenly, it's the middle of September and we don't hear much about 'snap back' anymore. Now we have 'wind backs' and 'road maps'. Six months ago, I was flying back from Antarctica after two weeks aboard the ill-fated Greg Mortimer cruise ship, and then the world changed. So it's time to take your temperature again. Our survey checks your reaction to recent policies and your COVID-19 responses.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 373

  • 2 September 2020
  • 1

It was a milestone for strange times last week when the company with the longest record in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) index, ExxonMobil, once the largest company in the world, was replaced by a software company, Salesforce. Only one company in the original DJIA exists today. As businesses are disrupted, how many of the current DJIA companies will disappear in the next decade or two?

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 372

  • 27 August 2020
  • 3

With hindsight, we are all excellent 'shoulda' investors. Looking back during the pandemic, opportunities look obvious. Retail investors who rely on professional fund managers must hope that late March presented a once-a-decade moment for investment teams to stop watching screens and reading broker reports and contemplate deeply a new future for target companies.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 371

  • 19 August 2020
  • 3

The pandemic-induced preoccupation with health problems has eased enough to allow news space for superannuation to regain its place as a political football. Senator Jane Hume, the minister responsible for super, says further reform is "in the wings" and "a more efficient default system" is under development. Plus she's in a super stoush with Paul Keating.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 370

  • 12 August 2020
  • 3

It's easy to oscillate between vaccine optimism and pessimism depending on the most recent authoritative report, but this week, the World Health Organisation took a longer-term view. It warned that we live in a biological world and we are actively creating breaches of the animal/human species barrier. We are heightening the risk of more COVIDs.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 369

  • 6 August 2020
  • 1

Imagine you had perfect foresight about COVID-19 at the start of the year. You correctly foresaw that the global pandemic would kill over 700,000 among 20 million infections by August. In Australia, borders would close, cities would be locked down, most mortgagors would be on income support and companies would be allowed to trade while insolvent. You then had to guess how much the stock market would fall. Would you say about 10%?

Most viewed in recent weeks

Have the rules of retirement investing changed?

In retirement, we still want to reduce stock volatility while generating cash flows. The two needs have not changed, but the reward expected in the old days from interest payments has gone. What should we do?

One last hurrah for the 60/40 portfolio?

The 60/40 diversified portfolio has been the mainstay of the superannuation industry for decades. But it is built on a fundamental principle of defensive bond returns, and its time is nigh.

YourSuper will save $17.9 billion! Surely you’re joshing

In Budget 2020, Josh Frydenberg announced a performance comparison tool and fund stapling to save Australians $17.9 billion over 10 years. But too many moving parts make results highly cyclical.

18 Aussie names for your watchlist

A Morningstar stock screener reveals a cross-section of companies with competitive advantages that are trading at material discounts to estimated value. This is a list of 18 highly-rated names worth watching.

Claiming a tax deduction for super contributions

The timing of lodging a notice of intent to claim a tax deduction on super contributions and making partial rollovers or withdrawals can make a big difference to the amount allowed to be claimed.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 378

Budgets are forecasts, and more than most, Josh Frydenberg and Treasury waved a wet finger in the air in compiling the 2020 version. How many companies will now employ a new apprentice for $100 a week subsidy? Which back-of-the-envelope showed 3.5 million businesses would use the instant asset write off? And the $17.9 billion for super savings based on the YourSuper proposal is wishful thinking.

  • 8 October 2020

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