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Edition: 398

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Welcome to Firstlinks Edition 398

  • 11 March 2021
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While markets always have differences of opinion, fund managers are further apart than ever. At one end is the bounce back theory of massive consumer spending. The other is the overvaluations during a pandemic with mutant virus threats. Plus Julie Bishop on leadership, life and libertines.

Julie Bishop on leaders, life, Liberals and libertines

At a CFA event for IWD, Australia's first female foreign minister gave her frank opinion on leadership and life. Later, she opened up on events in Canberra: "I'm surprised that no-one thought to inform the Prime Minister." 

Four bubbly market pockets show heightened risk for investors

At the top of every market, there are signs that investors look back on and say the excesses were obvious. While many parts of the market are fairly valued, here are four bubbles which show irrational exuberance.

You think you're passive but are you really concentrating?

Rules of thumb often oversimplify things. While it looks like an index or passive portfolio spreads risks across the market, it is surprising how concentrated indexes have become, leaving investors with sector bets.

Three key takeaways from Buffett's annual letter

Warren Buffett's annual letter has a simple focus on long-term investing: "All that’s required is the passage of time, an inner calm, ample diversification and a minimisation of transactions and fees."

Three key themes for global income investing post COVID

Heavy consumer spending, rising commodity prices and government deficits point to rising inflation. Given the risk in long-term fixed rate exposure, where else can bond exposure help generate income?

Investment forecasts: foresight or folly?

It's easy to find eminent market experts with completely opposite views on the market at any moment. View the forecasts of investment gurus for what they are: guesstimates. Only you can decide what's right for you.

Understanding QE and its impact on inflation

With bond rates and Reserve Bank actions driving equity markets and inflationary expectations, it pays to understand what is really happening in both central bank and commercial bank balance sheets.

Most viewed in recent weeks

Lessons when a fund manager of the year is down 25%

Every successful fund manager suffers periods of underperformance, and investors who jump from fund to fund chasing results are likely to do badly. Selecting a manager is a long-term decision but what else?

2022 election survey results: disillusion and disappointment

In almost 1,000 responses, our readers differ in voting intentions versus polling of the general population, but they have little doubt who will win and there is widespread disappointment with our politics.

Now you can earn 5% on bonds but stay with quality

Conservative investors who want the greater capital security of bonds can now lock in 5% but they should stay at the higher end of credit quality. Rises in rates and defaults mean it's not as easy as it looks.

30 ETFs in one ecosystem but is there a favourite?

In the last decade, ETFs have become a mainstay of many portfolios, with broad market access to most asset types, as well as a wide array of sectors and themes. Is there a favourite of a CEO who oversees 30 funds?

Australia’s bounty: is it just diversified luck?

Increases in commodity prices have fuelled global inflation while benefiting commodities exporters like Australia. Oftentimes, booms lead to busts and investors need to get the timing right on pricing cycles to be successful.

Meg on SMSFs – More on future-proofing your fund

Single-member SMSFs face challenges where the eventual beneficiaries (or support team in the event of incapacity) will be the member’s adult children. Even worse, what happens if one or more of the children live overseas?

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