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China’s new model is a plan for a hostile world

China is approaching a 'Lewis turning point' at the same time it faces a demographic time bomb with its rapidly-ageing 1.4 billion population. How it solves these problems will have a massive impact on Australia.

Biden is stimulating an economy already enjoying a sugar hit

US growth forecasts for 2021 are as high as 8%, so is the massive stimulus a superfluous ‘sugar hit’ amid shrinking spare capacity? High government debt points to taxes and reduced benefits, with inflation risks.

Germany will do the minimum to support the euro ... and Europe

Germany benefits from the European currency union that makes the country an export dynamo, but there are at least five reasons why it is reluctant to force the economic and fiscal union the continent really needs.

The pivotal fight between China and the US

Microchips are the key battleground in the rivalry between Beijing and Washington because the integrated circuit ranks with the internal combustion engine and electricity as inventions of consequence for everyday life.

Hamish Douglass on big tech and life after COVID

On the sidelines of the Morningstar Conference, the Magellan co-founder reflects on the pandemic and which sectors are set to gain and lose. He says we were lucky the pandemic hit when it did (videos and transcripts).

Britain amid COVID and the pain of the final exit talks

No option removes the existential threats to the UK stirred by its EU departure. What started in 2016 as enough voters defying the odds has left the UK dangling politically and economically amid a pandemic.

Hamish Douglass on what really matters

Questions on the stock market/economy disconnect, how to focus long term, technology's growing role, income in a low-rate world, Modern Monetary Theory and endless debt and the tooth fairy.

10 reasons low interest rates may limit growth

Ultra low interest rates could be counterproductive for economic growth. Policymakers need to rely less on monetary stimulus and be mindful of the side effects they are creating, especially for retirees and savers.

China and US ‘decoupling’ likely to be mild

The latest iteration of globalisation is forming. Western consumers will face reduced choice and higher prices and global production networks will be less efficient. But the US and China also need each other.

Most Australians live better than the Rockefellers

It's tempting to focus on the negatives of the pandemic, the US election, the China/US cold war and inequality. But technology is delivering benefits that even wealthy people in the past could not have imagined.

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.

Three reasons China could become the world’s leading consumer

The growth in wealth and aspirations of middle-class Chinese may become a 'consumer of last resort' for the world economy, but to earn that status, China must avoid a ‘trap’ among other challenges.

The populations of key countries are shrinking

Population decline is a new, yet largely ignored, trend with underrated economic and social costs. Much of the growth that drives economies, especially in Australia, comes from population increases.

Apps and ‘dark kitchens’ are changing food delivery

The restaurant business has always operated on thin margins, and home delivery doesn't make it better.  But most of the delivery platforms are also struggling, and an industry shake-up is underway.

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.

Four ethical challenges in exiting Covid-19 rules

As Australia prepares to relax Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, crucial questions of lives versus livelihoods are being asked. At its most pointed, it's also a matter of lives versus lives.

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.

Morningstar: Douglass interview, 29 top picks, corona research

Three Morningstar resources are available to Firstlinks readers to assist in the current market turmoil. A short Hamish Douglass interview, detailed US research into the virus and a special trial offer.

Quantum computing would be a world-changing technological leap

Quantum computers have a theoretical ability to calculate millions of possibilities in seconds, yet it may take time before we see a breakthrough in the practical applications of sub-atomic computing.

Policymakers fear cutting stimulus can lead to recession

Prolonging a recovery with stimulus could lead to a worse slump later. Even today, policymakers are haunted by actions taken in 1937 which led to a loss of production and jobs and a falling GDP.

The ‘streaming wars’ could penalise viewers

Netflix once claimed its creation of 'binge watching' made sleep its major competitor. Now, the coming blow will be the loss of one platform that offers just about everything subscribers want.     

Business quality matters most

What once seemed like science fiction is being created by the world’s highest-quality businesses such as Alphabet, Amazon and Microsoft. The best investment outcomes are achieved by buying the best companies.

Central banks risk losing their feted ‘independence’

Central bank independence was an appropriate solution when inflation was a threat. In today’s low-inflation, low-growth and high-debt world, even central banks doubt their level of influence.  

Magellan’s Vihari Ross on the players in the team

The companies that earn a place in an investment portfolio are like the players in a sporting team. They must perform strongly and complement each other, and not keep someone out who is better.

13 of the best: reflections from an investor

Exclusive: Hamish Douglass’s 13 lessons from years of investing include how to find the right investments, how to let investments work for you, risk management and the best temperament.

A fireside chat with Hamish Douglass

At the 2019 Morningstar Investment Conference, Tim Murphy sat down with Hamish Douglass to discuss how Magellan was transformed from a new business during the GFC to managing $83 billion now.

AI is running ahead of its ethical issues

Artificial Intelligence is developing faster than the ethical issues is raises, as most people seem unconcerned about the impact of data trails and decision-making by algorithms. The response in time is likely to be more regulation.

Two value opportunities in domestic cyclicals

Despite some challenges, not all companies that are consumer-focussed face difficult times. Some are well-positioned, and the market has sold them off to relatively low valuation multiples.

5G mobile promises to connect and speed up everything

5G technology has amazing potential to step-change our lives with lower costs and higher speeds, but security and political concerns could delay, distort and add costs to its deployment.

Fintechs could challenge savings banks

Fintechs want to inject themselves between banks and their customers in the most profitable areas. Most will fail but others will chip away and the banks must respond, while the regulators keep a close watch.

Trump’s fiscal stimulus threatens stocks

Stocks are vulnerable if interest rates rise much faster than expected on inflation concerns. What is the probability of this heightened risk and what are the consequences for portfolios?

Blockchain revolutionises the cyberworld

If you're still getting your head around blockchain, read this quick summary on the potential of distributed ledgers. The technology is not without problems but cannot be ignored.

Three market scenarios, including a 30% fall

Market risks are skewed to the downside for the next 12 to 18 months, and if the Federal Reserve is forced to counter inflation, a 30% broad-based correction in equity markets is a possibility.

The Chinese consumer and rising political risks

Consumers are now having a bigger impact on China’s economic growth to the benefit of multinationals, but foreign companies can face boycotts when pursuing Chinese consumers.

Robots and AI will automate workplaces at a frenzied pace

The political ramifications of classifying robots as 'electronic persons' and the loss of jobs might nullify automation’s economic benefits for society.

US fiscal stimulus may prove reckless

Global stock markets could face the most volatile period since 2008-09. The danger is that US fiscal stimulus could fan inflation and lead to higher-than-expected interest rates. Risks are asymmetric to the downside.

8 benefits of listed over unlisted infrastructure

Listed infrastructure is a large universe of more than 350 companies worth more than US$4 trillion at prevailing market prices. This way of entering the asset class offers several advantages over the unlisted alternative.

Manufacturing makes a surprising change

The old paradigm that manufacturing will increasingly transfer to low-cost developing countries is being turned on its head by technology advances.

Global platforms face regulatory threats

Pressure is mounting on the leading digital platforms to better police inappropriate content before the regulators disrupt the disruptors. There's still time to put their own houses in order.

Why the four tech giants are not expensive

The claims that the leading tech companies are expensive overlooks the sustainable and growing earnings, plus they have new developments which have only scratched the surface.

Business model disruption - Part 2

In Part 2 of this two-part series, Hamish discusses how the most dominant businesses of the last 50 years might struggle, faced with new threats, and even Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are worried.

Business model disruption has barely begun

Facebook, Google and Amazon seem already entrenched in our lives, but with the information they know about their users, their ability to target advertising and products has only touched the surface of change.

Passive investing and other disruptive themes

Business has always faced changes, but the rapid extent of technical progress means many companies will cease to exist over the next 20 years, including some famous global brands.

Cybercrime response may slow internet

The growing world of cybercrime and its increasing sophistication is putting the worth of the internet at stake, requiring governments world-wide to give greater priority to cybersecurity.

10 cognitive biases that can lead to investment mistakes (Part 2)

Knowing about psychological barriers to good investment performance can help to understand and minimise mistakes. Consider how often a cognitive bias has led to a poor investment.

10 cognitive biases that can lead to investment mistakes (part 1)

Knowing about psychological barriers to good investment performance can help to understand and minimise mistakes. Consider how often a cognitive bias has led to a poor investment.

Why infrastructure stocks can withstand higher interest rates

There's a common misconception that as a 'bond proxy', infrastructure asset prices will fall as bond prices do when rates rise. But these hard assets have sufficient inflation protection to drive a more robust outcome.

A decade of Magellan: lessons in building a fund manager

It's a home-grown Australian success story, managing far more for foreign institutions than local, but it took a long time to gain traction while laying the foundations for the massive inflows that were to come.

Major investment themes and the fund manager's dilemma

A fund manager's biggest challenge in the current economic environment is how to best serve the interests of investors knowing that a severe market disruption is a possibility.

Technology and investing: this time may be different

Maybe this time, investing IS different, as technology approaches tipping points of exponential advancement. Developments in genomics, robotics, artificial intelligence and computing power may go in unforeseen directions.

Reader question: Are managed funds or LICs better in super or out?

Deciding whether managed funds or listed investment companies go better within super or out of it comes down to an investor's own preferences and situation. This comparison will help explain the differences.

The resilience of airports

Looking back over the major economic downturns the world's markets have experienced, airports have shown their ability to bounce back from short-term passenger shocks.

Infrastructure risk factors in the current macro environment

Infrastructure assets range widely from toll roads, ports, airports, power distribution, communications, etc, but there are common risk factors to consider in all of them.

Is Australia in trouble?

The Australian economy faces many challenges from both global and domestic influences, and while opportunities exist for Australian businesses and investors, it's a time for caution.

The shift to the cloud

Small and medium sized businesses are experiencing a shift from on-premises IT resources to cloud computing. It has quickly affected investment decisions as IT vendors and buyers adapt to this new way of doing things.

Why China’s property market matters

A credit-fuelled property bubble enabled China to maintain its incredible run of growth through the GFC. But now it has to deal with the implications of a massive excess supply of property, as millions of homes lie vacant.

Is Magellan's listed fund a game changer?

A new listed active managed fund is breaking ground with a structure designed to solve the shortcomings of existing listed investment options. It may not be the perfect product for everyone but others will follow.

What can investors expect from QE in Europe?

The European Central Bank was reluctant to embrace a QE strategy following the GFC. But in late 2014 it was introduced to fight deflationary forces and boost growth in the euro-zone. The question is: will it work?

Listed versus unlisted infrastructure

When deciding between listed and unlisted infrastructure securities, the focus should be on the cashflows, the risks associated with those cashflows and the entry price to buy the assets.

China’s growth slowdown is underway

Recent developments in China’s credit and property markets could lead to a slowdown in the country’s economic growth. If this happens there would be significant implications for global investors.

The US recovery will surprise on the upside

A positive view on US growth but some concerns around possible inflation effects and the unwinding of QE. Growth may give a tailwind but it is rarely the most important factor determining market returns.

Most viewed in recent weeks

Super changes, the Budget and 2021 versus 2022

Josh Frydenberg's third budget contained changes to superannuation and other rules but their effective date is expected to be 1 July 2022. Take care not to confuse them with changes due on 1 July 2021.

Noel's share winners and loser plus budget reality check

Among the share success stories is a poor personal experience as Telstra's service needs improving. Plus why the new budget announcements on downsizing and buying a home don't deserve the super hype.

Grantham interview on the coming day of reckoning

Jeremy Grantham has seen it all before, with bubbles every 15 years or so. The higher you go, the longer and greater the fall. You can have a high-priced asset or a high-yielding asset, but not both at the same time.

Whoyagonnacall? 10 unspoken risks buying off-the-plan

All new apartment buildings have defects, and inexperienced owners assume someone else will fix them. But developers and builders will not volunteer to spend time and money unless someone fights them. Part 1

Buffett says stock picking is too hard for most investors

Warren Buffett explained why he believes most investors should not pick stocks but simply own an S&P 500 index fund. "There's a lot more to picking stocks than figuring out what’s going to be a wonderful industry."

Should investors brace for uncomfortably high inflation?

The global recession came quickly and deeply but it has given way to a strong rebound. What are the lessons for investors, how should a portfolio change and what role will inflation play?

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