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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 367

  • 22 July 2020
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There is a similarity between the current health crisis and economic crises of the past. For COVID-19, record amounts of biotech funding from government agencies and private companies are looking for a vaccine. Likewise, central banks once struggled treating recessions but the 'vaccine' now is record amounts of financial stimulus to ensure liquidity. While the world awaits a COVID treatment, markets are purring along, at least until side effects hit.

A hard dose reality check on vaccines

With 160 programmes underway and billions of dollars spent on COVID-19 vaccines, investors are drawn to optimistic news. However, the company that has developed most new vaccines has a sober view.

Two great examples of why company management matters

It’s not only products and business models that create wealth. Management teams make decisions on how to deploy capital and such actions drive vastly different outcomes over time.

How we have invested during COVID-19

With signs that the economic recession will not be as deep as first feared, many companies will emerge strongly with robust business models. Here are the sectors with the best opportunities.

Five principles from the lost decade of value investing

Value investing is a long-cycle play, but a decade (and counting) of waiting for mean reversion has tested the faith of even long-horizon investors. Some basic principles are worth assessing.

Is the '4% rule' for retirement broken?

The traditional 4% rule was designed to ensure retirees do not run out of money, but low interest rates and expensive equity markets question the sustainability of the level. What are the alternatives?

Hedging for capital preservation

New ways to hedge the risks in an equity portfolio are now readily available, including bear funds designed to make money when the market falls. They're not for everyone so check with a financial adviser.

A year coloured by what I have read

The lockdowns and less physical travel give more time to read and reflect. This article shares some favourite books including key investment implications from asking if the glass is half full or half empty.

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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