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Edition: 195

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Edition 195

  • 24 March 2017

A trader-friend who lives in Illinois USA sent me this chart from The Economist, with the question, "What is it about the old British Empire and house prices?" I replied with the usual stuff on Chinese investment, low interest rates and strong economies, and he came back on the ratios of household debt to GDP, price to disposable income and price to rents. The Economist has a fantastic interactive chart showing 27 countries, but for all their skilled analysis, they've been wrong on Australia since 2002. They now call it 'severely overpriced', and surely we're due at least a flat period.

Four things retirees must know about shares

Investors and financial market professionals underestimate the power of franking credits to enhance returns, especially in pension phase where franking is fully refunded.

You get what you don’t pay for

While there is a role for both active and passive investments in portfolios, the impact of relatively small reductions in management fees can compound to large amounts over a lifetime of saving.

10 grey swans to watch out for

'Grey swans' are surprises that are improbable but more likely to occur than 'black swans', and investors should consider the possible impact on their portfolios. Some of these swans will paddle by this year.

Should we exclude companies purely on ethical grounds?

General principles previously governed ethical investing, but both fund managers and clients now accept the more hard-nosed approach of eliminating certain companies from portfolios.

Big increase in retirees expecting to outlive their savings

New research shows a rapid increase in the proportion of retirees expecting to outlive their savings, and those not yet retired are worried about markets and not saving enough.

Watch premiums and discounts in LICs

Independent Investment Research has released its December Quarter 2016 review of the performance of the 34 LIC's under its coverage. Understand the premiums and discounts to NTA before investing.

Future oil prices: it takes two to contango

US shale oil producers and the combined alliance of OPEC and Russia need one another to maintain the 'sweet spot' in oil sector dynamics and profitability into the future.

Most viewed in recent weeks

House prices surge but falls are common and coming

We tend to forget that house prices often fall. Direct lending controls are more effective than rate rises because macroprudential limits affect the volume of money for housing leaving business rates untouched.

Survey responses on pension eligibility for wealthy homeowners

The survey drew a fantastic 2,000 responses with over 1,000 comments and polar opposite views on what is good policy. Do most people believe the home should be in the age pension asset test, and what do they say?

100 Aussies: five charts on who earns, pays and owns

Any policy decision needs to recognise who is affected by a change. It pays to check the data on who pays taxes, who owns assets and who earns the income to ensure an equitable and efficient outcome.

Three good comments from the pension asset test article

With articles on the pensions assets test read about 40,000 times, 3,500 survey responses and thousands of comments, there was a lot of great reader participation. A few comments added extra insights.

The sorry saga of housing affordability and ownership

It is hard to think of any area of widespread public concern where the same policies have been pursued for so long, in the face of such incontrovertible evidence that they have failed to achieve their objectives.

Two strong themes and companies that will benefit

There are reasons to believe inflation will stay under control, and although we may see a slowing in the global economy, two companies should benefit from the themes of 'Stable Compounders' and 'Structural Winners'.

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