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Edition: 355

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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 355

  • 30 April 2020
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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.

Six simple charts on what to expect from shares

Investors in Australian equities should expect a loss in at least one year in every five, but subsequent years normally recover lost ground and reward patience. No need to pick tops and bottoms.

Don’t fall under FOMO’s market spell

Fear of missing out in a rallying stock market pushes many investors back into shares even when the outlook is poor. Bear markets usually last longer than we have seen so far during the coronavirus.

'Unprecedented' should be 'here we go again'

It might be a 'black swan' event, but the market is down only 15% since its peak. Looking back at an article written in 2008 reveals the uncertainty at the time was similar to the unknowns now.

Too many unknowns: hope isn't an investment thesis

Many investors believe they have sufficient visibility into numerous unknowns to make the high-conviction call that the recovery will be strong. We don’t, and we're not willing to guess.

Together in isolation, four steps in a strange new world

Free spending by governments risks unsustainably higher debt levels, as deficits matter and must be paid for. Here are four steps investors should consider as previous techniques may not work.

Oil and the storm before the really big storm

The oil market is as much about geopolitics as it is demand and supply, with regimes controlling much of the global production. Are negative oil prices part of a bigger plan by someone?

Four steps to resurrecting Australia

As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, there is a small window where everyone is on the same team, fighting a war against a common, invisible enemy. It's an opportunity to make some big decisions.

Giving and receiving the right aged care advice

Aged care should not be narrowly defined, as opportunities include home care, granny flats, retirement villages, land lease communities and residential aged care. Take advice and don't rush it.

Media worth consuming - April 2020

Links to dozens of global media articles that do not receive mainstream coverage in Australia. It's sceptical, fun and revealing, often challenging consensus and accepted wisdom.

What unbelievable circumstances!

In repositioning a portfolio to this new environment, focus on companies with balance sheet strength and less investment market and consumer sensitivity. In any crisis, there are victims and beneficiaries.

Coronavirus and the fragilities of Italy and the eurozone

Italy is so weak economically, financially and politically that it poses an existential threat to the eurozone. Solutions to appease the crisis face political hurdles and a euro exit is possible.

Most viewed in recent weeks

Unexpected results in our retirement income survey

Who knew? With some surprise results, the Government is on unexpected firm ground in asking people to draw on all their assets in retirement, although the comments show what feisty and informed readers we have.

Three all-time best tables for every adviser and investor

It's a remarkable statistic. In any year since 1875, if you had invested in the Australian stock index, turned away and come back eight years later, your average return would be 120% with no negative periods.

The looming excess of housing and why prices will fall

Never stand between Australian households and an uncapped government programme with $3 billion in ‘free money’ to build or renovate their homes. But excess supply is coming with an absence of net migration.

Five stocks that have worked well in our portfolios

Picking macro trends is difficult. What may seem logical and compelling one minute may completely change a few months later. There are better rewards from focussing on identifying the best companies at good prices.

10 reasons wealthy homeowners shouldn't receive welfare

The RBA Governor says rising house prices are due to "the design of our taxation and social security systems". The OECD says "the prolonged boom in house prices has inflated the wealth of many pensioners without impacting their pension eligibility." What's your view?

Six COVID opportunist stocks prospering in adversity

Some high-quality companies have emerged even stronger since the onset of COVID and are well placed for outperformance. We call these the ‘COVID Opportunists’ as they are now dominating their specific sectors.

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