Letters: Ethics, portfolio strategy and electric cars

Readers call for an ethical investing portfolio, ask about the future of electric cars, and much more.

Ethical investments

I am a novice investor learning as much as I can over the past 10 years or so – I did very well last year largely due to Eureka Report’s website articles etc. I am passionate about only ethical investments as a way of contributing to the ethical improvement needed in our world economies. I have asked before but will ask again for more leadership from your site on this matter. Is it possible to have an example of an ethical portfolio we can follow, much like Alan's?

Name withheld

Portfolio strategy suggestion

I am in the process of reviewing my portfolio management strategy including risk management and was wondering whether one or more of the experts could cover the topic with perhaps examples? It would be good to get an explanation of strategies from a value investor and a technical investor. If not possible, then perhaps suggestions on good literature in this area?

As a suggestion, it would be interesting to track the trading of a technical investor through a model portfolio. Weekly articles could look at example stocks explaining various buy/sell signals.

FP

Electric cars

In March 2010 Alan Kohler wrote an article on electric cars. It would be interesting to see an update on your thoughts around the electric and/or hybrid car market. I confess a pecuniary interest right now as I'm looking to buy a hybrid vehicle, and trying to figure whether resale/trade-in value in a couple of years’ time will be better on a hybrid or a petrol/diesel only vehicle.

I Burt

US and European Debt

It concerns me that no one spells out how the US and Europe plan to erase or at least substantially reduce their debt. I read the odd article about a lot of the other less important issues but none about the bottom line. How do they plan to deal with it and how will it impact on the normal investor? Or is there no plan, just keep kicking the can and hope? It seems to me that economic reports can say just about anything these days without saying anything with any certainty.

NR

A future reader

Recent comments by Alan Kohler about traditional media revenue collapsing in the digital age prompt me to dream of a future when the Eureka Report and broadsheet newspapers could be flourishing together on a digital platform. The current devices are expensive and the delivery patchy across two main systems – delaying widespread usage. What we need is a common reader like a Kindle with 3G developed by the newspaper boffins to display their wares clearly but open to all comers, to transmit their newsletters to this device. Say by 7am we would have all the papers we want ready to read. The device must be cheap, say $50, subsidised and just for written media. Such a device would be very light and slim so it would not be a burden to carry or store alongside a laptop in a satchel. By specialising the device for newspaper reading it would become universally used, anywhere in the world. We do not need a $700 Apple, Android, Windows 8, Blackberry tablet or phone.

D Gray

Cash account changes

The recent changes to Commsec cash accounts, whereby the linked high-interest account is taken away and all money will now be held in an account that pays as low as 0.01%, seems very cynical and poorly considered. The timing seems very contrived too: like Wayne Swan they seem to have decided to “take out the rubbish five minutes before Christmas”.

Could Eureka Report do a feature story weighing up the pros and cons of alternative online trading platforms?

P Morrissey

Cattle capital

I used to work in the pastoral industry in the NT. The other night I was talking to my old boss and he raised an interesting question.

Are agistment expenses a capital item or not? My reply was that as a legitimate expense they could not be capitalised.

His reply, with a chuckle, was that AACo has a large number of cattle on agistment and they are capitalising this expense to make the balance sheet look good for now but look out when the cattle are sold for a loss.

P Lowe