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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

10 little-known pension traps prove the value of advice

Most people entering retirement do not see a financial adviser, mainly due to cost. It's a major problem because there are small mistakes a retiree can make which are expensive and avoidable if a few tips were known.

Check eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card has no asset test and a relatively high income test. It's worth checking eligibility and the benefits of qualifying to save on the cost of medications.

Hamish Douglass on why the movie hasn’t ended yet

The focus is on Magellan for its investment performance and departure of the CEO, but Douglass says the pandemic, inflation, rising rates and Middle East tensions have not played out. Vindication is always long term.

Start the year right with the 2022 Retiree Checklist

This is our annual checklist of what retirees need to be aware of in 2022. It is a long list of 25 items and not everything will apply to your situation. Run your eye over the benefits and entitlements.

At 98-years-old, Charlie Munger still delivers the one-liners

The Warren Buffett/Charlie Munger partnership is the stuff of legends, but even Charlie admits it is coming to an end ("I'm nearly dead"). He is one of the few people in investing prepared to say what he thinks.

Should I pay off the mortgage or top up my superannuation?

Depending on personal circumstances, it may be time to rethink the bias to paying down housing debt over wealth accumulation in super. Do the sums and ask these four questions to plan for your future.

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