Wry & Dry #36 FY-24 From the Murray to… “That would be the Euphrates”. Rats.

In the most flagrant breach of responsible government since that which caused then PM Whitlam to give Federal Treasurer Jim Cairns the DCM in 1975, Victorian Premier Allen has not given state Treasurer Tim Pallas the DCM.

And in abject bovine indifference, the financial media chewed the cud spewed out by the government’s PR machine and effectively said “Tut, tut. Must do better.”

Even the state opposition leader (err, bowler’s name?) couldn’t bring himself to ask for the head of Pallas to be impaled on a spike at the city gates.

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 #23 FY-24. Bumper Christmas Issue

Wry & Dry needs to remind himself, and perhaps some Readers, of the major global events of 2023:

Jacinda Ardern, the Queen of Woke and Incompetence, gave herself the DCM

In an outcome that surprised the world, Emperor Eleven was unanimously re-elected as President of China

In a bullet fired into Tsar Vlad’s foot by Tsar Vlad, Finland became the 31st member of NATO.

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 #19 FY-24: Albo: What. Me worry? UK: sinking ship. Israel: maths.

Political opinion polls published on Monday screamed gloom for Albo. His preferred PM rating had fallen to 40% from 47%.

In response, Albo gave the Alfred E Neuman comment. Well, he actually didn’t say it. He didn’t need to: the same poll showed the Coalition’s primary support falling to 30%. Albo will be soundly sleeping; albeit in the pointy end of a Qantas A380.

WRY & DRY #15 FY-24: Voice over. Sleepy Joe’s great speech. Never mess with a nun.

The Voice debacle gave rise to claims and counter claims that would make a lawyer richer than Croesus. The most risible was from journalists, newspaper-letter-writers and deniers who blamed the loss on Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.

Really? Dutton would be pleased to claim he single-handedly defeated a campaign backed by the full forces of the government, the ACTU, an overwhelming casket of cash, the major churches, large companies, universities, the major sporting codes, major industry superannuation funds and… Alan Joyce. SuperDutton? Yeah. Nuh.

Wry & Dry #13 FY-24: Disaster: Chairman Dan’s DCM. Trumpster the fraudster. PwC.

In a DCM-move that surprised many, Chairman Dan gave himself the DCM on Tuesday. This is a disaster of great magnitude.

Cartoonists all over Australia have lost a subject that yielded the Everest of political satire and ridicule. They feasted on the opportunity provided by arguably the most hated politician since Julius Caesar, whose DCM, unlike Chairman Dan’s, was not self-inflicted and caused by 27 knife wounds from six grumpy conspirators.

Emboldened by his own outstanding oratory and aided by an Opposition as weak as the Wallabies and as divided as post-war Germany, a fawning media and an upper house cross bench that were easily bought, he bestrode the political world like a colossus.

Wry & Dry #7 FY-24. “No child will live in poverty.” Trumpster the mobster. VinFast what?

When the Indians are circling your wagon, the lessons of Politics 101 are clear. Divert attention away from the Indians until the cavalry arrives. What better diversion than a big, ‘nation building’ policy.

Former PM Bob Hawke was a master at this. Readers will remember either of “no Australian child will live in poverty” and/or “we will plant one billion trees.”

Wry & Dry #5 FY-24. Trumpster smashes own record. Phoenix Team. US credit downgrade.

What proud citizen of the USA would not want a president who admitted to a business relationship with a porn start? Really, it’s about free speech. And free trade.

Or one whose high intellect and sense of history meant that building a personal library of really historic documents was really understandable.

And now, conspiracy. Really? What’s the fuss? Who in politics hasn’t conspired before, during or after office?

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?

Wry & Dry #34: Sleepy Joe’s real reason for not coming. How to paint a debt ceiling. Cane toads?

Sleepy Joe has decided to cancel his trip to have gumnut tea and a lamington with Albo. His acolytes speak of the need to negotiate the raising of America’s ‘debt ceiling’. Nuh.

The real reason is the worry that Sleepy Joe might fall victim of the food on the Jetstar flight to Sydney.  And return to the US in a more horizontal position than is usually found on Jetstar. Then Armageddon: Kamala Harris would get the gig in the White House, at which she has already been measuring up curtains. 

Wry & Dry #23. Bumper Christmas Issue.

Impersonator of the Year: He lacked the beard, his biceps were flabbier, his girth was greater and his footwear sturdier. But otherwise, Morrison saw himself as a modern Moses. To lead Australia into the new world.

Macquarie Group and Perpetual – analysis of FY24 results and company outlook.

Macquarie and Perpetual results and analysis

As part of the usual ‘confession season’ leading into the Macquarie Australasian Companies Conference in Sydney this week, weakness has been apparent in businesses exposed to the consumer and these stocks have been sold off. We hold little exposure to these names.  

Several significant announcements by our portfolio companies have also been made in the past week. We focus on two of these in Investment Matters discussion this week.

Finding the crunch point – RBA raising rates? What? 

In our recent communications, we have suggested that the RBA, while it can reduce interest rates and mortgage costs through 2024, could benefit significantly by following the rest of the world’s lead in reducing rates. This approach would result in a longer pause at current rate levels, particularly in the face of higher or persistent domestic inflation. 

Read as our CIO explains how interest rate increases can disproportionately affect different segments of the economy.

Is gold the new haven? The mystery behind the price surge

Pile of gold

This week’s Investment Matters will shed light on the surge in the price of gold and gold stocks in the past few months. 

We hold gold stocks in our clients’ sub-portfolios for several reasons. It is therefore useful to understand why increases in the gold price warrant special attention. 

The task for First Samuel is to profit from such price increases. 

In discussing this, I have split this week’s Investment Matters into two lengthy sections. I urge you not to skip straight to the second section (on how we profit from gold prices increases).

Optimistic optimism: strong returns to both Australian and global equities

This week’s Investment Matters will focus on different asset classes, their relative performance, and our broad thoughts on the implications of tactical asset allocation decisions. 

When we survey benchmark performance, we see that Australian and Global equities portfolios have delivered returns well above expected long-term returns for those asset classes this financial year. 

Revisiting takeovers

we’ve maintained higher weights in cash holdings within property sub-portfolios with an expectation that a significant rises in interest rates would necessitate an increase in cap rates (implied returns on property values), a resultant reduction in property book valuations and trigger a resultant slew of equity capital raises at discounted share prices in order to restore balance sheets to within bank funding covenants.

While the dull shine of copper comes in focus, we shed little light on BHP. Similarly, our focus this week on financial services dives deeper than the four major banks.

Profit Reporting Season – Stockland, Mirvac, Garda and Lendlease

laptop with the words property on it with small colourful illustrated houses

we’ve maintained higher weights in cash holdings within property sub-portfolios with an expectation that a significant rises in interest rates would necessitate an increase in cap rates (implied returns on property values), a resultant reduction in property book valuations and trigger a resultant slew of equity capital raises at discounted share prices in order to restore balance sheets to within bank funding covenants.

While the dull shine of copper comes in focus, we shed little light on BHP. Similarly, our focus this week on financial services dives deeper than the four major banks.

Profit Reporting Season – Sandfire, Perpetual and Judo Bank

This week’s Investment Matters will continue to focus on the recent reporting season.

While the dull shine of copper comes in focus, we shed little light on BHP. Similarly, our focus this week on financial services dives deeper than the four major banks.

Profit Reporting Season – Cleanaway, Emeco, ParagonCare and Worley

This week’s Investment Matters will concentrate on key company results as the reporting season winds down. On balance, market strategists have noted that earnings revisions have been neutral across the board, which is better than historical outcomes of net negative earnings revisions by optimistic investment banking equity analysts. 

Profit Reporting Season – Ventia, Johns Lyng, Earlypay and Nanosonics

Read key company results as the reporting season winds down. On balance, market strategists have noted that earnings revisions have been neutral across the board, which is a better than historic outcomes of net negative earnings revisions by optimistic investment banking equity analysts.

Early profit reporting season and news update

In last week’s Investment Matters we concentrated on the confession season, the period in which companies make early announcements to the market surrounding material changes to upcoming earnings.

This week’s Investment Matters will also concentrate on news flow and early reporting season results.

Confessions of a corporate earnings season

Most ASX-listed companies in Australia have a June fiscal/financial year-end. Accordingly, those with June and December balance days will tend to present their (half-year/annual) financial results to the market in each of the months of February and August.

Perpetual – finding a way to unlock value

In the past year, we have often commented that we’ll exhibit due patience as part of our investment approach. This is required as we often seek to invest in businesses that are significantly unloved and misunderstood and where assets may, therefore be mispriced.

Premier Investments – A deep dive into a new opportunity

In recent weeks, clients will have seen the addition of Premier Investments to their Australian equity sub-portfolios. Famously partly owned and operated (whether formally or informally) by Solomon Lew, Premier Investments is amongst the most successful discretionary retailers in Australian history.

Steadfast in its approach

© 2024 First Samuel Limited The Markets This week: ASX v Wall Street FYTD: ASX v Wall Street Steadfast Group Limited is an Australian insurance broking network that provides insurance broking services to businesses and individuals across Australia and New Zealand. The company was founded in 1991 and has become one of Australia’s largest insurance […]

Growing – in two very different ways

In recent weeks, we heard the mildly alarming statistics that the ASX had fallen to a low in October 2023 of 6703.2, lower than the levels seen in the broad market index at the close of October in 2007 (6770).

Inghams: laying golden eggs

Inghams is the dominant supplier of chicken products in Australia. It is also amongst the largest positions in client portfolios. In the past week, it delivered an update on progress within the business across the first half of the fiscal year.

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).

Did Aussies just stop spending?

In addition to the usual market updates, this week’s Investment Matters provides updates on two companies in client portfolios: Costa Group and Aristocrat.

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.


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.


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.


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. 
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.

2022: What Mattered?

A cursory glance at the scorecard would lead you to believe this year in markets could be met with a yawn. Yet those that lived through it know that 2022 was anything but a “yawn”.

Out of the oven

Patience is a resource that is becoming relatively scarce in capital markets. We recently received good news about a long-standing position in this portfolio: HoldCo.

Misstep or side-step? 

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is currently an impasse. Will it continue to hike interest rates in lockstep with the US Federal Reserve? Or will it choose to take a divergent path? And what might the consequences (of either approach) be?

“Gilty” as charged

The Australian market fell by a whopping 8% over the past two weeks. However, it’s set to end the week higher than it began.

We try to draw some lessons from a wild, but ultimately uneventful few weeks in markets.

Stage 5?

Better than feared. That’s how several analysts have described the August reporting season in 2022.

We wrap up this year’s Profit Reporting Season as we ponder the outlook for 2023.

Coming Together

If the big four were likened to another big four (the Beatles), it would be safe to say that ANZ has been a shoo-in for Ringo (over the last few years).

Medical rooms ownership: Opportunities and pitfalls

Female doctor seeing a patient in her medical room

When the share-market does not see value or investment merit in a particular stock the stock’s share price will recede. This could be because the company’s earnings (i.e. profit) outlook is poor (e.g. Bega Cheese Ltd) or perhaps the industry in the which the company operates is struggling (e.g. ARN Media Limited).
But often someone or a company will see value where the share-market does not. The logical outcome of this is one of the more interesting aspects of investment: the merger or the acquisition. Or, in jargon: M&A.

Charting consumer confidence

If you are feeling a little uneasy about the Australian economy, you are not alone.
Recent surveys indicate Australians are increasingly worried about the outlook for the domestic economy.

We take a walk down a chart-filled page to see what exactly consumers are fretting over and how this is influencing behaviour.

Defining the odds

We discuss the odds for the latest addition to the Australian Equities sub-portfolio – PointsBet.
Also, this week: We catch up on Company News for the weeks gone by.

Getting your investments in order

An investor’s greatest hurdle can sometimes be: the investor. We look at how the math of how when you transact can be as important as what you transact.

Sell first (ask questions later…)

Billion-dollar companies have disappointed the market. We question whether in the midst of uncertainty, investors’ timeframes are being truncated.