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Edition: 358

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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 358

  • 20 May 2020

One of the many victims of COVID-19 is Australia as a private sector, market-based economy. It's become a public-subsidised economy. Most workers are on some type of government support, and the downturn is disguised in the official numbers. Last week's unemployment rate of 6.2% is fiction, as most workers are either unemployed, paid by the government or they have given up looking for work. How do we climb out of the valley?

Baseline outlook for economic recovery is too optimistic

We cannot throw our hands up in the air and say 'this time around, it's simply too hard'. Having no macro view is unhelpful, but many of the baseline scenarios are overly optimistic, says the former CEO of Westpac and now Chairman of Chi-X Australia.

Will our government embrace these three reforms?

COVID-19 is an opportunity for a crucial policy reset, but what does that really mean? Business is hoping for three big reforms, but there are massive barriers to be overcome.

8 reasons business has little to learn from 'The Last Dance'

Everyone seems to be watching The Last Dance, a fascinating sports documentary about the pursuit of excellence by one of the greatest athletes of all time. Let's not stretch the business analogy too far.

Do long-term investors need to care about the ‘next big thing’?

When we look back five years from now, which companies will we regret not having bought at today’s prices? The next opportunities come from focusing on the long term, not the next few months.

Not all non-residential real estate performs the same

Retail assets, particularly those focused on discretionary shopping, will continue to underperform and industrial and logistics assets will be the winners for the foreseeable future.

The uncertainties of using debt in a time of crisis

The ability of countries to support their economies today turns on fiscal practices set well before this crisis. Increasing levels of debt escalate overall risk, and tie our hands in the future.

Do you qualify for this help in the crisis?

It will surprise many that benefits worth over $8,700 could be available for a couple with a super balance over $4 million. Check if you are eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

What SMSF trustees need to know about benefit payments now

The government has announced initiatives to help people use their superannuation in response to the crisis, but for early access and drawdown changes, there are important rules to follow.

On the pandemic front line: Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

Unlike the share prices of some companies which have held up due to their defensive characteristics, Fisher & Paykel is playing an active role in mitigating the worst effects of the crisis.

Four huge categories of change after the pandemic

The deteriorating mood will bring changes that will have profound economic, financial, social and political changes that can be grouped into new, accelerated, busted and possible trends.

Which market comes out first in a recovery?

Downside risks remain and we expect another leg down, but active managers should take advantage of market dislocations. In the current context, humility and risk management are key.

Most viewed in recent weeks

Three steps to planning your spending in retirement

What happens when a superannuation expert sets up his own retirement portfolio using decades of knowledge? He finds he can afford much more investment risk in his portfolio than conventional thinking suggests.

Finding sustainable dividend stocks on the ASX

There is a small universe of companies on the ASX which are reliable dividend payers over five years, are fairly valued and are classified as ‘negligible’ or ‘low’ on both ESG risk and carbon risk.

Retirement income promise relies on spending capital

The Government has taken the next step towards encouraging retirees to live off their capital, and from 1 July 2022 will require super funds - even SMSFs - to address retirement income and protect longevity risk.

Among key trends in Australian banks, one factor stands out

The Big Four banks look similar but they are at fundamentally different stages as they move to simpler business models. Amid challenges from operating systems, loan growth and neobank threats, one factor stands tall.

Why mega-tech growth are the best ‘value’ stocks in the market

They are six of the greatest businesses ever and should form part of the global portfolios of all investors. The market sees risk in inflation and valuations but the companies are positioned for outstanding growth.

How inflation impacts different types of investments

A comprehensive study of the impact of inflation on returns from different assets over the past 120 years. The high returns in recent years are due to low inflation and falling rates but this ‘sweet spot’ is ending.

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