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Oliver's Insights

Why investors need to be wary of crowds

12 Feb 2014

Sometimes being at one with a crowd can be nice, eg at rock concerts it adds to the ambience and safety in numbers can provide comfort. However, when crowds turn they can be dangerous and you might get trampled! In fact a wariness of crowds is essential to successful investing.

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The risk of a correction or new bear market in shares

23 Jan 2014 Since the height of the Eurozone public debt crisis in September/October 2011, global shares are up 58% and Australian shares are up 37%. After such strong gains an obvious issue is whether shares have got ahead of themselves, leaving them vulnerable to a fall. This note looks at the risks.;

Review of 2013, outlook for 2014

11 Dec 2013

2013 was notable for what did not happen: the US did not go off the fiscal cliff or default on its debt and the much feared inflation lift off failed to materialise the euro did not fall apart despite a few scares involving Italy, Cyprus, etc China did not hard land despite reports of "ghost cities" and claims of massive debt and Australia did not have a recession despite the mining slowdown. What did happen was mostly positive;

A better 2014 for the Australian economy & profits

4 Dec 2013

Ever since major mining investment projects, such as Olympic Dam, started to be cancelled over a year ago and it became clear the mining investment boom was coming to an end, much uncertainty has surrounded the outlook for the Australian economy. This was not helped by a mediocre initial response to interest rate cuts and sub-par growth of around 2.3% annualised since the June quarter last year.;

Australian profits, the economy and shares

4 Sep 2013 Over the last year there has been much commentary warning of an impending collapse in the Australian economy. Much of this has come from foreign commentators sure that the mining boom is the only thing keeping Australia going. Consistent with this there was much fear going into the just concluded June half profit reporting season with many expecting another round of big earnings downgrades.;

Investment outlook after a strong financial year

24 Jul 2013 The past financial year saw great returns from growth oriented investments. While returns from bonds and cash slowed to less than 5%, 20% plus returns from global and Australian shares combined with solid returns from property saw balanced growth oriented superannuation funds return on average around 16%.;

The 2013-14 Australian Budget – struggling back to surplus

15 May 2013 The 2013 Budget has seen a big shift in Government policy away from a focus on returning the budget to surplus to send “a strong message of confidence” (quote from last year’s Budget) to focussing on “a strong economy”. The surplus projection is still there, but thanks to a huge revenue shortfall it has been pushed out three years to 2015-16 and progress towards it will stall in the year ahead. While there will no doubt be lots of interest in the individual budget measures, the lack of a surplus is the key issue.;

Are we in for another mid year bout of weakness?

10 Apr 2013 After a strong start to the year, share markets have had a few wobbles lately and defensive assets like bonds have rallied again. An obvious concern is that share markets will go down the same path as the last three years that saw the year start off solidly only to see sharp falls in either the June or September quarters led by flare ups in Europe, worries about US growth and fears about China. From highs around April, global and Australian shares had falls of around 15% in mid 2010, around 20% in 2011 and by around 10% last year.;

Secular bull in shares close, but with constrained returns

1 Mar 2013 With shares entering a new cyclical bull market and the US share market not far from all-time highs, it's natural to wonder whether the secular bear market is over. And what does this mean for returns? Is the low return world that we have been in since 2000 history or will returns remain constrained?;

A new bull market in shares?

8 Feb 2013 Since the height of the European public debt crisis in September/October 2011, global share markets are up 32% and Australian shares are up 26%. With the global outlook looking brighter, inflows into share markets seemingly starting to pick up and shares accelerating to the upside over the past few months, an obvious question is whether we have commenced a new bull market? This note focuses on cyclical bull markets, associated with three to five year economic cycles rather than whether we are in a long term bull market which can run for a decade or two.;
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