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2017, THE OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

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2017 has started well. Will it continue?

At the start of 2016 the world was worrying about Chinese growth fears. This fear, contributed to volatility, the like of which had not been experienced since 2011.

It was difficult to achieve a positive return in 2016. It was a year when taking on more risk was not always rewarded.

Australian Shares

  • Last year the concern was China. This year the concern is Brexit and President Donald Trump (PDT).
  • The Australian Economy contracted in the September quarter but is not expected to go into a recession.
  • Low wage growth is subduing spending. This is bad for profits and jobs.
  • Employment growth has continued to disappoint.
  • Commodity prices have lifted and if this continues does offer some hope.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is likely to leave rates on hold.
  • Investment Value should be found in aged care as our population ages.
  • Banks are likely to continue to offer a good yield but muted growth.
  • Continue to look for stocks with exposure to the UK Pound and US dollar.

International Shares

  • “Sell on the rumour, buy on the news.” This sums up PDT’s win.
  • The big fiscal stimulus promised by PDT, plus planned corporate and personal tax cuts has seen the American market reach new highs.
  • Has, or will the market get ahead of itself? The risk to watch out for?
  • US valuations are above their long term average. US interest rates are likely to increase. Increased rates are not good for firms holding debt.
  • We are unlikely to really know what effect the PDT administration will have on the American economy until February at the earliest. That said, so far it is looking good.
  • The UK government might have to navigate a very hostile Brexit environment. However, I believe the pound will increase at some point.
  • Europe seems mixed but OK. The risks include: the fragile Italian banks; that Brexit will cause other countries to leave the EU; and that “popular” politics will bring in the far right to help govern.
  • Still cautious in Japan, China and Asia, although China is projected to grow at about 6% this year.

Property (Commercial)

  • Late in the commercial property cycle, so maintain 10-12%. Likely to offer yield only.

Interest Rates

  • Expect increases generally globally.

2017 looks like being a very interesting year.  If PDT can control his thin skin, his temper and his Twitter diplomacy, he may move the American economy in the right direction.

Some of the risk is that the American economy will falter under too much protectionism and an expanding deficit to satisfy promised tax cuts. However, in the traditional Australian way, we will give PDT a “fair shake of the sauce bottle”!

My advice is to stick to your intended portfolio strategy but to look for areas that offer opportunities. In other words, look for small tactical adjustments within your strategy, rather than changing your whole strategy.

I believe that the UK Pound will improve, as the terms of Brexit become clearer. Stocks like CYBG PLC, (the Clydesdale and the Yorkshire Bank), Wesfarmers and Henderson, should all benefit from this.

Stocks with US dollar exposure, Macquarie Bank, Amcor, Brambles and CSL should benefit from the Trump effect.

Hold banks for yield and buy heath care.

Having a well-diversified portfolio with quality assets should give you faith that you can weather the storms and other challenges of 2017.

The next few years may turn out to be more challenging than the previous few.  We are in a low growth, low return era. Real returns of 4-5%pa will be good.

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

Yours Sincerely,

Steve Burge

 

Brexit presents opportunities?

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There is no doubt that Brexit was a shock to many. However, there may be some opportunities that arise as a result of the decision.

Basically, companies with UK pound earnings are now cheaper than a few weeks ago. This is because the UK pound is weak against the A$ as a result of Brexit.

As time passes, I believe that the pound will recover. Therefore, those Australian listed companies will increase in value (in A$ terms) even if the companies themselves, do not increase in value. This is similar to when the A$ was strong against the US$. Significant rewards have been gained for investors in CSL, Amcor and Brambles who purchased these companies 18 months ago when the US$ was weak against the A$S.

The following is a list of direct shares that could benefit in the long term from Brexit.

  • CYBG PLC is a holding company that owns the Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank. You may already have a small holding of this share as a result of owning the NAB.
  • Wesfarmers has recently purchased Homebase, a DIY business that Wesfarmers is hoping to turn into the UK equivalent of Bunnings.
  • Henderson Group PLC (HGG) is a global investment company located in London.
  • Amcor, a paper and packaging company that has dealings in Europe and the UK.
  • Ramsay, a health company that has dealings in Europe and the UK.

Please let me know if you would like to take advantage of this possible opportunity.

This must be considered a long term approach. It will be two years, at least, before the UK is completely decoupled from the EU.

Turmoil = Opportunity

2016, THE OUTLOOK FOR THE YEAR AHEAD

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2016 has started with a bang in the wrong direction – The worst start since 2008!

Here is my overview of the year ahead, based on numerous articles.

Australian Shares

  • The current level of the market could, see reasonable value for the long term investor.
  • A major point of concern is the Chinese Economy.
  • However, Australia’s resource companies are low cost producers. This together with a weakening Australian dollar will cushion the effects of China on the larger Australian resource companies.
  • As resources fall in value, other opportunities present in China, including but not limited to: the milk industry, baby formula and the health supplement industry. China’s middle class is very health conscious..
  • New capital requirements for the banks now make them look attractive.
  • Share prices of highly rated companies will likely be sensitive to changes in the certainty of their dividend earnings.

International Shares

  • Global growth appears to be on trend, and the risk of deflation is low.
  • Supply excess is the main driver of falling resource prices.
  • Major economies appear to be reasonably healthy.
  • A rebalance of the Chinese economy is happening as it transitions from a resources/building and construction, to a consumer led economy.
  • A positive European outlook.
  • A cautious Japanese outlook.

Property (Commercial)

  • Maintain at a maximum 10-12% of the value of your portfolio.
  • Generally quite positive, as high tenant demand can be expected.

Interest Rates

  • Expect increases in Australia and globally, in general.

Stock market volatility is likely to be a dominant theme during 2016, as it was during 2015.

My advice is to continue to invest in quality investments, and to not be tempted to change the overall strategy of your portfolio. We should however, look to exploit opportunities when cash becomes available by making tactical investment moves.

In short I believe 2016 will be a reasonable year, with returns of between 4% and 6% after fees.

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

Yours Sincerely,

Steve Burge