Wry & Dry #28 of FY-24. Gender Equality. Nuclear. Spies.

The rest of the world: focused on Gaza, Ukraine and/or the Trumpster’s latest rambling monologue to bovine masses.

The Australian media: transfixed by the results of the most read survey since Publius Sulpicius Quirinius carried out a census in Judea in 6 AD. That survey (not the one by Quirinius) was by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). It’s a shocker.

Wry & Dry #22 FY-24. Emeritus Chairman Dan’s resume. Hamas: making money. GDP per capita falls.

It was feeding time at the media zoo on Wednesday. Hot on the heels of the PISA report showing that 26% of Victorian 15-year-olds’ educational proficiency was too low “to enable them to participate effectively and productively in life,” the long-awaited Ombudsman’s report into the Victorian public service under Emeritus Chairman Dan Andrews was fed to the salivating media mouths.

There was more than enough for indigestion. Victoria’s public service, the Ombudsman’s massive report said, is “ruled at the highest level by a culture of fear.” No subtlety there.

Wry & Dry #21 FY-24. Heaven: a busy week. Dubai: COP that. US: Haley’s comet.

It’s been a busy week at the Members’ Entrance to the pearly gates to heaven.

On Tuesday Charlie Munger arrived in a limmo longer than a bus. Charlie was Warren Buffett’s conservative investment alter ego. He arrived and immediately began arguing with St Peter about heaven’s recent investments (remembering that time doesn’t matter in heaven): “That St Peter’s Basilica property development in Rome was a waste of money.”

Wry & Dry #1, FY-24: Some of it was cricket. Foster country. Headhunters.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a batsman who is unhappy with the method of his dismissal will cry that it wasn’t “in the spirit of the game.”

And so it came to pass that in a recent cricket Test match, English batsman Bairstow was silly enough to leave his crease when the ball was still in play. He was correctly dismissed (“stumped”).

An outburst of outrage not seen at Lord’s since the Great Pimm’s Shortfall Crisis of 1926 then arose.

Wry & Dry #41: Russian rebellion. Irony. Upsetting the treasurer 101.

Today, there isn’t a person in the world who is not familiar with Russia’s highway M4. And that it starts on Rostov-on-Don (more-or-less) and finishes in Moscow, some 1,100 kilometres away to the north.

It was along this stretch of mostly wide and smooth asphalt that Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private army (Wagner Group) commenced its threat to Tsar Vlad’s restful night’s sleep. It left the difficult terrain and unfriendly people of Ukraine for the ease of a paved road and reasonable cafes.

Wry & Dry #36: Ceiling restored. “I’d like to thank…”. Five more years.

Make no mistake, some individuals at PwC should end up either in the slammer or fiscally eviscerated. For either or both the original crime and then the cover up. Those bean-counters clearly didn’t spend their formative years studying history. How could they not have known that former US president Richard Nixon was shredded for the Watergate cover-up, not the crime?

Company Profit ‘Reporting Season’ preview

It’s an intense time of year for equity market professionals. But one that is welcomed because of the opportunity to review financial data, hear about company strategy, assess management and operational performance, and to review one’s own stock selection and analytical prowess.

Lull before company profit reporting season

Late July is when there is a lull in company news, as industrial companies are in communication lockdown before company profit reporting in August. Mining companies are busy releasing production reports and not much else, also ahead of profit reporting.

Out with the old, in with the new

There has been a significant period of de-equitisation in the Australian equity markets in the past couple of years. Our portfolios, and performance, have been the beneficiaries of this phenomenon.  Several stocks we own are subject to takeover bids:

Selectivity and Productivity

This week we discuss two major topics. Japan and why we are more heavily invested than global benchmarks and Productivity: why is this a problem for Australia and how does it impact returns?

Going, Going, Gone – the de-equitization of the Australian Equities Market

Two of our investments, Costa Group and United Malt, received confirmation relating to takeover bids this week.

Both takeovers provided support for our investment strategy. This strategy concentrates on finding opportunities where the market fails to price either the long-run asset or the franchise-based value of a company, and instead focuses on short-term earnings fluctuations. In such cases it is often an external party, via a takeover, that unlocks the value.

EOFY, Inflation and Small Caps

The curtain is about to fall on another financial year. FY-23 has been a year of very good investment performance across First Samuel various portfolio strategies.

Clients should expect their Flash Performance reports within 10 days, always noting that all portfolios are individually managed, with different asset mixes and security selections.

The Health of Australia’s Employment Market

This week’s Investment Matters strikes out on a different path to usual. We will present a range of background information on the changing nature of the labour force following a decade of rapid aging and massive inbound migration.

Jittery consumer meets unrepentant RBA

This week’s Investment Matters continues our examination of the RBA’s tightening cycle and the increasing fragility amongst cohorts of Australian consumers. Have the screws been tightened too far already?

What Alternative assets do investors have?

This week we spend some time discussing a small but important component of most clients’ portfolios, Alternative Assets. We’re in the process of making new venture capital-style investments in health and financial services.

We also discuss another new Australian Equity portfolio holding called Impedimed (IPD ASX).

Some interesting introductions

We’re always looking for new ideas to introduce into the investment portfolios. A spate of recent takeovers within the portfolio (think Newcrest, Origin, United Malt, Pushpay, Eildon Capital) has accelerated the need for fresh ideas to replenish building cash positions.

Banks and Budgets

A busy week in financial markets given the conclusion of the Australian Bank 1H23 profit reporting cycle and the announcement of the Federal Budget. Our discussion will focus on each in turn.

Conferencing

This week the Australian investment world was dominated by one event – the Macquarie Equites Conference in Sydney. We will provide a quick run through of major themes and highlights from companies to which our clients have exposure.

Sayonara

This week in Investment Matters, we have three sections that provide important updates on clients positions in Eildon Capital, Reliance Worldwide and Mineral Resources.

Over the course of the later part of this week and next many companies will provide updates to the market, including mining companies, smaller companies and those presenting at upcoming investor conferences. We will cover as many as possible of these updates in coming weeks.
O the economic front we discuss the impacts of the review into the RBA that goes beyond the changes mentioned in the headlines.

Battery Powered Portfolios

This week in Investment Matters, we have two news items relevant for client portfolios and a piece designed to assist with understanding how an investment in the portfolio has been restructured

Gold and price of money

This week in Investment Matters we have two items relevant for client portfolios. The first is the revised takeover conditions for Newcrest Mining and the 2nd is the pause in rate hikes announced by the Reserve Bank last week. Again, this week we have the much-needed assistance of Patrick Cooks’ cartoons.

Cheers

This week in Investment Matters we have highlighted three news items relevant for client portfolios. Similar to the previous week, is the enhancement of these stories with the sensational Patrick Cook cartoons.

A little more for the collection

This week in Investment Matters we have highlighted three news items relevant for client portfolios. The highlight of the week however is the enhancement of rather plain text with the sensational Patrick Cook cartoons.

Debanking Some Fears in Global Markets

This week Investment Matters covers off on the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) in the US. 
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We used equity market weakness, associated with fears of contagion in the financial system given the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) (and to a lesser extent smaller crypto-focused Signature Bank) in the US, to add to positions in the Australian Bank sector this week.

The end of company profit reporting season

The final week of reporting season is traditionally occupied by some of the smaller companies with less well-developed internal reporting structures and possibly some news they are reticent to share!

The week also saw the much-awaited update from EarlyPay which is discussed.

Busy week of company news

The third week of company profit reporting season is traditionally the busiest with a range of large companies presenting updates to the market. We have provided some detail on those results important to client portfolios in today’s Company News section.

Another takeover bid

Client portfolios benefited this week from another takeover bid this time for Newcrest Mining. A non-binding indicative offer came from another giant global gold miner, Newmont Mining, based in Denver USA.