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2022,THE OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

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This time last year I wrote, “the word for 2020 was COVID”.  2021 has again been dominated by the pandemic and its COVID variants. 2022 may well be the year that we all accept that COVID is here to stay and learn to live with it.

Last year I wrote, “If the COVID vaccines prove to be the answer to the COVID pandemic, 2021 may well be a good year for financial markets. Cautious optimism is the outlook from most fund managers”.  2021 was a good year for well diversified portfolios.

The economic concern for 2022 is inflation caused by supply shortages and high demand caused by COVID. Initially inflation was thought to be a transitional effect of COVID. However, inflation has stayed more persistent than expected and higher than expected.

Commodity stock or stocks related to commodities tend to do best in a high inflation environment. Commodity stocks include Newcrest Mining (Gold), Rio (Iron ore), BHP (diversified mining), Woodside (Oil) and others.

Financial stimulus from Governments round the world is likely to be reduced during 2022, known as quantitative easing. This could lead to less money being lent by banks or making it harder to get a loan. Hopefully, quantitative easing will not be eased too quickly which may lead to a rapid retreat of equity prices. Not good for portfolios

Oil prices are predicted to rise during 2022 and 2023.

My theme for suggested investment during 2022 is Newcrest mining, Woodside and an increased exposure to fixed interest and Bonds.

Volatility is again likely to continue in 2022 so again remain confident in your portfolio and its long-term strategy.

My view is that 2022 will be an interesting year. A year that is even more difficult to predict. Not many voices are suggesting a recession, but it cannot be completely ruled out. Be cautious this year is my advice.

The major banks have already started to increase their fixed mortgage rates. This is a sure sign that they expect interest rates to increase.

2021, THE OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

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The word for 2020 was COVID. COVID caused a steep drop in equity prices. In fact, a record drop in equity markets. The record drop in prices, was followed by another record, the best ever short term 50day rally. The COVID period gave us the worst economic crisis for 80 years.

If the COVID vaccines prove to be the answer to the COVID pandemic, 2021 may well be a good year for financial markets. Cautious optimism is the outlook from most fund managers. Much will be determined by the confidence of consumers. Will the vaccine help people to feel happy to travel again?

Governments round the world are committed to financial stimulus and have signalled that interest rates will remain low.

Low interest rates will be good for dividend paying stocks. 2020 saw dividends stocks, particularly banks, fall out of favour. Fully franked dividends tend to offer a better return than cash rates. Dividend paying stocks had a bad 2020 but are likely to come back in favour in 2021.

Iron ore prices have been very hot during 2020. However, predictions are suggesting that iron prices will moderate during 2021.

Volatility is very likely to continue in 2021 so be confident with your long-term strategy. The election of Joe Biden has reduced some of the volatility. I think the world has welcomed the prospect of some normality in US politics and its place in the world.

In general terms, I am looking forward to a good year for markets. Health care stocks should do well, so too technology and emerging markets, particularly Asia.

Australian Shares

  • RIO has had a good year, up 23% and BHP up 18%
  • Galaxy Resources up 49%
  • Virgin Money (VUK) down 49%.

International Shares

  • Hold steady but consider increasing exposure to Emerging Markets.

 

 

Property

  • Domestic real estate is looking strong with a recent recovery. I will be interested to see if the current market strength continues.
  • Commercial property should recover as the world gets back to work.

Interest Rates

  • My view is, that we should still plan for increases especially when taking on more debt.

Generally, keep investing in quality good yielding shares. Consider increasing your portfolios allocation to Emerging Markets and property.

Consider reducing exposure to mining stocks and increasing exposure to dividend yielding stocks and health care.

Consider investing in post COVID stocks like Qantas, Sydney Airports and Transurban.

I look forward to our next meeting and as always please feel free to contact me any time.

Yours Sincerely,

 

 

Steve Burge

2020, THE OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

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Last year I said, “There will not be many easy gains to be had in 2019”. Well, 2019 finished with markets having reached highs. The returns gained in 2019, in a well diversified portfolio, were quite spectacular.

2020, what might we expect? World tensions due to the trade war between China and the US, more recently tensions escalating in the Middle East, will probably slow the world economy.

Watching the UK general election, as I did, was staggering. A result nobody expected. The massive majority won by Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party, has eased the threat of a “hard Brexit”. Brexit though will happen. My view is that the UK getting out of Europe will present opportunities for Australia. The UK Pound is also likely to strengthen against the Australian Dollar. Companies with UK Pound exposure are likely to benefit as a result.

In general terms, expect lower than normal growth, low inflation and more volatility.

The risk of an outright recession in the US, the UK and Australia, is low but not out of the question. Bond markets have been predicting a recession within 18 months for the last six months!

The consequence of low interest rates has been to encourage borrowing and speculation rather than savings. Savers with portfolios have been forced to chase yields. This in turn could artificially inflate assets further. Long term, very low interest rates are not good for economies. We only have to look to Japan and Europe for evidence. So called “Zombie” companies can survive by paying much less for their debt. With normal interest rates Zombie companies do not survive allowing more efficient companies to make greater profits, create more jobs and invest more.

Low interest rates have also encouraged “buy-backs” rather than expansion. There were a lot of “buy-backs” in 2019.

As a strategy, Emerging Markets might do well in 2020, so I would encourage some investment in Emerging Markets.

I still favour the strategy of reducing the risk to your portfolio in favour of the steady gains that fixed interest offer. This strategy will be obtained by buying bonds and fixed interest, as the income from the growth assets (shares and property) that you currently hold, builds up your cash account. 

Australian Shares

  • Ramsay has had a good year, up 26%.
  • CYB now Virgin Money (VUK) also had a good year, up 7%.

International Shares

  • Hold steady but consider increasing exposure to Emerging Markets.

Property

  • Domestic real estate is likely to be patchy and, in my view, generally weak.
  • Commercial property steady.

Interest Rates

  • My view is that we should plan for increases.

Generally, keep investing in quality good yielding shares. Consider increasing your portfolios allocation to Emerging Markets and Fixed Interest.

I look forward to our next meeting and as always please feel free to contact me any time.

Yours Sincerely,

Steve Burge

2019, THE OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

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2018, all was going so well until October! Volatility had returned. There will not be many easy gains to be had in 2019.

2018 has seen interest rates rise globally. This in turn, has had an impact on Bond yields and the “risk free” rate to which assets are valued.

Looking to 2019, fundamentally the world looks in OK shape. However, 2019 might be a year when international fund managers look outside the US for gains. The world is not just made up of investment opportunities in the US, despite the views of Donald Trump.

The rise of populism is a concern, especially for the larger institutions that we have relied on over the years.

Last year I said that it may be time to consider buying bonds and fixed interest. I maintain this is still the correct strategy albeit with a caveat. The caveat being that the traditional diversification effects of bonds to equities may not be so successful in 2019.

As interest rates increase, the value of bonds will decrease. The cash rate, also referred to as the “risk-free rate”, is the rate to which assets are valued. When interest rates increase this may cause a rethink about the valuations of assets, in a downward direction. Investors will ask, “Am I getting adequate compensation for the risk of holding shares when I can obtain a good return from cash?”

My belief is that the strategy of reducing the risk in your portfolio in favour of the steady gains cash and fixed interest offer is the way to proceed in 2019. This strategy will be obtained buying bonds and fixed interest as the income from the growth assets (shares and property) that you currently hold builds up your cash account.

Australian Shares

  • 2018 continued to see Telstra and the banks decline
  • In 2018 resources continued to do well. Although Lithium miners declined.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is likely to increase rates in 2019.
  • Finding value in Australian shares in 2019 is not as difficult as last year due to falls in 2018. I favour the banks, AMP, CYB and Ramsay.

 

 

International Shares

  • As mentioned above, the world is not just the US and whilst a recession is not expected a slow-down is.
  • Fund managers will be looking away from America.

Property (Commercial)

  • Still likely to offer yield only on listed Real Estate Investment Trusts.
  • Possible exception to this is well targeted direct property trusts with reputable managers. Beware the liquidity trap with direct property trusts.
  • My thoughts on domestic real estate is that it is difficult to see what will spark a price increase. Interest rates are likely to increase and the community has high debt levels. Not generally conditions under which real estate prices increase.

Interest Rates

  • Expect increases globally.

Last year I said I liked Amcor, AGL, Stockland, Retail Food Group (RFG), Brambles, Ramsay Health and for those not averse to some “spice” in their portfolio, Evolution Mining.

All the above picks, apart from Evolution mining, were down. RFG was a disaster and Brambles was flat.

The fact that a gold miner like Evolution mining increased in value, reflects the worlds assessment of risk. Gold tends to do well in a volatile risky world.

This year I recommend that you build up bonds and fixed interest, although where appropriate the banks are looking like good value. The Royal commission into the banks, due early this year, if favourable, will likely see the banks increase in value.

I continue to like Ramsay health and also CYB as a hedge against the UK pound Oz dollar exchange.

I look forward to our next meeting and as always please feel free to contact me any time.

Yours Sincerely,

 

Steve Burge

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