Challenge for AMP over pay, fund deal

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 : 26-Apr-21

AMP’s proposal to spin off its private markets division is set to be a key focus of its virtual AGM on 30 April. Brett Le Mesurier of Velocity Trade has downgraded his share price target for AMP in response to the demerger proposal, which followed AMP’s decision to terminate negotiations with Ares Management over a full or partial sale of the business. Meanwhile, two proxy advisers have recommended that shareholders vote in favour of AMP’s remuneration report, while ISS has called for investors to reject it.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, ARES CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC, INSTITUTIONAL SHAREHOLDER SERVICES INCORPORATED

Options for investors as bourse nears record high

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 20 : 9-Apr-21

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is within striking distance of its record high of 7,197.2 points, set in February 2020. The index reached an intra-day high of 7,012.4 points on 8 April, having gained 60 per cent since falling to a pandemic-induced low in March 2020. The index has gained three per cent in the month to date, compared with an average gain of 2.5 per cent in April. Pieter Stoltz of UBS expects cyclicals and value stocks to outperform the broader sharemarket in the near-term; he also likes stocks with overseas earnings and those with exposure to the housing and mining services sectors.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD

New chief confronts huge task at AMP

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Weekend Australian – Page: 21 & 25 : 3-Apr-21

Analysts are generally positive about the appointment of Alexis George to succeed Francesco De Ferrari as CEO of embattled wealth manager AMP, but note the challenges that she will face. George is currently deputy CEO at the ANZ Bank, and will take up her new role in the September quarter. AMP’s shares have fallen more than 45 per cent since De Ferrari became CEO in December 2018. AMP is still in talks with Ares Management regarding the sale of its private markets division.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, ARES MANAGEMENT CORPORATION

Platinum fears bloody end to mania

Original article by Richard Henderson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 27 & 33 : 1-Apr-21

Platinum Asset Management CEO Andrew Clifford warns that the ‘speculative mania’ in growth stocks is not sustainable and will eventually end. He believes that rising yields on long-dated bonds will be the catalyst for the demise of the boom at the speculative end of the sharemarket. Clifford expects investors to re-embrace cyclical stocks as the domestic economy opens up in the COVID-19 pandemic and hard-hit sectors such as travel and leisure recover.

CORPORATES
PLATINUM ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED – ASX PTM

Stocks on track for bumper year

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 13 & 19 : 1-Apr-21

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 3.1 per cent during the March quarter, and 15.1 per cent in the first nine months of 2020-21. The local sharemarket may be on track for its best financial-year performance since fiscal 2013, when it gained 17.3 per cent. Lynas Rare Metals, Virgin Money and Zip Co were the top performers during the quarter, each posting gains of at least 40 per cent. The benchmark index had shed 11 per cent in 2019-20, due to the coronavirus-induced slump in the second half.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, LYNAS RARE EARTHS LIMITED – ASX LYC, VIRGIN MONEY UK PLC – ASX VUK, ZIP CO LIMITED – ASX Z1P

‘Never going back’: pandemic pushes more to digital wallets

Original article by Finbar O’Mallon
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 8-Mar-21

Travis Tyler from neobank 86 400 suggests the pandemic has had a bigger impact on the future of banking than the banking royal commission. He notes hygiene concerns have prompted an increase in the number of people using digital wallets in preference to traditional wallets, with financial broker firm Savvy revealing almost 50 per cent of Australians have set up a digital wallet in the past year, while almost half of those people surveyed by Savvy prefer paying with their digital wallet. Marcus Crafter, a developer with digital bank Up, claims that Australians are "never going back to cash".

CORPORATES
86400 PTY LTD, SAVVY, UP, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Returns the world’s best over 121 years

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 20 : 5-Mar-21

Data from Credit Suisse shows that the Australian sharemarket has outperformed other bourses over the long-term, with real annual returns of 6.6 per cent since 1900 in US dollar terms. The ASX’s annualised return over this period was 6.8 per cent in local currency terms, behind the 7.1 per cent return from the South African bourse. Looking ahead, Credit Suisse says Generation Z can expect annualised equity returns of about three per cent, compared with annualised returns of 7.1 per cent since 1950 for Baby Boomers.

CORPORATES
CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED

Dividends on way back up: Argo

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 17 : 9-Feb-21

Argo Investments has posted a 2020-21 interim profit of 67m, which is 43 per cent lower than previously. The listed investment company’s half-year result was impacted by lower dividend income, with many companies scaling back their payouts in response to the COVID-pandemic. Argo MD Jason Beddow expects many companies to announce an increase in their dividend payouts during the February reporting season. However, he doubts that dividends will return to pre-coronavirus levels. He says banks and retailers are among the companies that could significantly boost their dividend payouts for the second half.

CORPORATES
ARGO INVESTMENTS LIMITED – ASX ARG

Rise in failures a pointer to future

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 17 : 15-Jan-21

Michael Fung of PwC and Sal Algeri from Deloitte expect the rate of business failures in Australia to be higher than usual in 2021. The federal government has wound back some of the COVID-19 support measures that helped businesses to stay afloat during the virus-induced economic downturn, while the JobKeeper scheme is slated to be phased out in March. Data from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission supports the view that a rise in insolvencies is likely; an average of 60 companies were placed in external administration in the final two weeks of 2020, compared with 13 during the same period in 2019.

CORPORATES
PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS AUSTRALIA (INTERNATIONAL) PTY LTD, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION

Investment bankers brace for deal blitz

Original article by Tim Boyd
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 11-Jan-21

Australian investment bankers are upbeat about the outlook for mergers and acquisitions activity in 2021. John Pickhaver of Macquarie Capital says local companies are likely to attract interest from foreign suitors, given Australia’s comparative success in combating COVID-19. James Disney of Credit Suisse expects private equity firms to actively pursue acquisitions in 2021. There was a spike in M&A activity in the fourth quarter of 2020, although data from Dealogic shows that the value of announced deals for the full year reached a 10-year low of $US63.2bn ($81.4bn).

CORPORATES
MACQUARIE CAPITAL PTY LTD, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, DEALOGIC (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD