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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 351

  • 1 April 2020
  • 16

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.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 347

  • 4 March 2020
  • 2

The management of coronavirus is another example of where companies are paying increasing attention to the health and welfare of their staff. Employment policies have become far more enlightened in recent years, such as offering care leave, paternity leave, stress counselling, work-from-home arrangements and meditation classes in the workplace. 

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 346

It is times such as this outbreak of coronavirus which test whether a portfolio is properly positioned for a person's risk appetite. A major hurdle to investor success is the urge to do something in reaction to news, especially as market experts are issuing lists of companies which will suffer from the lower activity caused by the virus. We don't yet know how widespread and sustained it will be, and investors take a risk selling out of high-quality companies and then not investing again. The S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Index fell almost 10% last week and the S&P500 is 12% down from recent highs. Consider how investors jumped out of Apple years ago when a quarterly sales figure did not quite meet target.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 345

  • 20 February 2020
  • 1

Investment returns in major asset classes in 2019 were wonderful, except for cash and term deposits. With growth super funds delivering around 10% a year for a decade, it's tempting to expect similar good returns in future. The Morningstar Gameboard below shows only two negative results across all asset classes in any year over the last five years.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 344

There's always more happening in money markets than most people realise, with significant implications for investors and borrowers. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) injects or withdraws billions of dollars into the financial system each week to manage liquidity. In cash markets, the RBA is currently providing plenty of stimulus and banks are funding loans easily.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 343

  • 6 February 2020
  • 1

There are three words that most experts are unwilling to say. In complex circumstances with many unknowns, 'I don't know' is often better than hearsay and guesses. We suddenly have a plethora of experts on pandemics and how diseases spread, and much of the economic analysis is guesswork.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 342

  • 30 January 2020

Most people satisfied with the home they own or rent care little for the parallel universe of weekend house hunters who barely have time for breakfast before they join the queues. With mortgage rates as low as 2.84% and risk written all over other asset classes, housing FOMO is strong in major cities, even though consumer confidence is falling in the wake of the bushfires and coronavirus.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 341

  • 22 January 2020
  • 1

The majority of investors hold a diversified portfolio no more than half invested in equities. The share exposure often declines with age as retirees seek capital preservation, and even young people place their super in balanced funds. Delight in the noisy 'all-time highs' is far from universal, with millions of Australians missing the big gains.

Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 340

  • 15 January 2020
  • 1

Companies hit by technology disruptions from competitors often face tough decisions to hang on to customers. It's why many investment analysts require strong 'economic moats' in the best companies as evidence of resistance to competition.

Most viewed in recent weeks

Why we’re not buying the market yet

The Australian market bounced back last Friday (13th) and Monday (16th) tempting analysts to call the bottom of the coronavirus scare. This is too early as the impact on companies is not yet evident.

Drawdown reductions needed for retirees - UPDATED POLICY

During the GFC, in the face of rapid falls in super balances, the minimum drawdowns required for pensions were reduced by 50% to help preserve overall retirement savings. It's time for a repeat.

What are the possible economic effects of COVID-19 on the world economy?

In a widely-quoted scenario using estimated attack and fatality rates of coronavirus, about 0.07% of the population of the US dies. That's about 230,000 people, which the market is not ready for.

How $200 billion is magically created

Australia is in a relatively good position to borrow $200 billion, with the RBA using printed money to buy bonds in the market. The long-term consequences are better than the alternative.

Note to Australia: be more French in the COVID-19 war

Andrew Baker is well-known as a superannuation consultant. Now working in the UK, he was caught in France with his family and is in lockdown. He worries Australian policy was too slow.

Optimism among forecasts of the COVID-19 peak

This detailed analysis of infections, deaths, drugs and vaccines includes an optimistic scenario: perhaps US and Australian infection numbers will peak in early to mid-April with a decline after.

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