Boutique funds emerge as top performers

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 26 : 18-Apr-19

Data from Mercer shows that the median long-only Australian share fund achieved a return of 10.9 per cent in the March 2019 quarter, on the back of a 9.5 per cent gain for the S&P/ASX 300 index. Smallco Broadcap Fund, Collins Opportunistic Value Investing and CBG Australian Equities delivered the best returns for the quarter, while the ECP AM All Cap fund was the top performer in the year to March. BlackRock achieved the best return among long-short funds over both three months and 12 months.

CORPORATES
MERCER INVESTMENTS PTY LTD, SMALLCO BROADCAP FUND, COLLINS OPPORTUNISTIC VALUE INVESTING FUND, CBG AUSTRALIAN EQUITIES FUND, ECP ASSET MANAGEMENT ALL CAP FUND, BLACKROCK INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED

Time for caution as US stocks due for pullback

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 27 : 11-Apr-19

The S&P 500 is trading close to its record high, having gained 23 per cent since late December 2018. A number of factors suggest that there could be a correction. The International Monetary Fund has again downgraded its forecast for global economic growth; the S&P 500 fell sharply after the IMF’s previous downgrade in October. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is now widely tipped to announce quantitative easing rather than quantitative tightening, while there is growing speculation that the Fed’s next interest rate move will be down rather than up.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S 500 INDEX, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, BLOOMBERG LP, STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, CITIGROUP INCORPORATED, JP MORGAN AND COMPANY INCORPORATED

Margin pressures put squeeze on US outlook

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 27 : 10-Apr-19

The S&P 500 has gained 23 per cent since late December 2018, and it is close to a record high. However, some observers expect the S&P 500 to record year-on-year negative earnings growth in the March 2019 quarter, for the first time in about three years. Michael Wilson of Morgan Stanley and Tobias Levkovich of Citigroup are upbeat about the earnings outlook for the March quarter, but they are cautious about the outlook for the second half of 2019.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S 500 INDEX, MORGAN STANLEY AND COMPANY INCORPORATED, CITIGROUP INCORPORATED, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD

US stocks brace for grim reporting season

Original article by Timothy Moore
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 23 : 8-Apr-19

Michael Wilson of Morgan Stanley expects the quarterly US reporting season to signal the start of an earnings recession. He says the March 2019 quarter is likely to be the first since the June 2015 quarter that the S&P 500 will record year-on-year negative earnings growth. The S&P 500 has gained 15.4 per cent so far in 2019, closing at 2,892.74 points on 5 April. Morgan Stanley expects it to end 2018 at 2,750 points, while Capital Economics forecasts that it will reach a 2019 low of just 2,300 points.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S 500 INDEX, MORGAN STANLEY AND COMPANY INCORPORATED, CAPITAL ECONOMICS LIMITED, FACTSET RESEARCH SYSTEMS INCORPORATED, CITIGROUP INCORPORATED, BANK OF AMERICA CORPORATION, JP MORGAN AND COMPANY INCORPORATED, WELLS FARGO AND COMPANY, THE GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INCORPORATED

Citi slaps 6500 target on ASX 200 by year’s end

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 27 : 29-Mar-19

Citigroup is bullish about the outlook for the S&P/ASX 200, forecasting that it will end 2019 at 6,500 points and reach 6,650 points by mid-2020. The benchmark index has gained 9.4 per cent so far in the first quarter of 2019, following a nine per cent decline in the December 2018 quarter. Citigroup is particularly upbeat about the resources sector. Meanwhile, Andrew Garthwaite of Credit Suisse has upgraded his recommendation on resources stocks from ‘neutral’ to ‘overweight’.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Shares hit by fresh global growth fears

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 17 & 28 : 26-Mar-19

The bearish sentiment that saw the S&P/ASX 200 fall to a three-month low on 25 March also weighed on the local bond market, with the yield on Australian 10-year bonds reaching a record low of 1.756 per cent. Growing concern about the outlook for the global economy also prompted a decline in the yield on US government bonds, with the yield curve inverting for the first time since 2007. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar reached an low of $US0.7066 in local trading, and Steven Miller Grant Samuel Funds Management expects it to fall further.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, GRANT SAMUEL FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF CHICAGO

Shares on track for bumper quarter

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 21 & 30 : 22-Mar-19

The S&P/ASX 200 has gained 9.2 per cent so far in 2019, putting it on track for the best quarterly return since 2009. The rebound follows a loss of 6.9 per cent for the benchmark index in calendar 2018, including a nine per cent loss in the fourth quarter. However, Chris Nicol of Morgan Stanley is bearish about the outlook for the local bourse, forecasting that the S&P/ASX 200 will end the year at 5,800 points. He also forecasts economic growth of just two per cent in 2019.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, MSCI ALL COUNTRY WORLD INDEX, SUPERRATINGS PTY LTD, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

AMP and Clayton Utz roll over for ASIC

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 12-Mar-19

An AMP spokesperson has confirmed that it has withdrawn its claim of legal and professional privilege over documents sought by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission regarding the fee-for-no-service scandal. Clayton Utz had been involved in the claim; the documents in question included notes taken by Clayton Utz in interviews with AMP employees over the scandal. ASIC deputy commissioner Daniel Crennan attacked AMP for trying to delay its investigation, although he said it was pleased that the sought documents had now been released.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, CLAYTON UTZ

S&P cuts AMP rating, more action to come

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 5-Mar-19

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded AMP’s credit rating from ‘A’ to ‘A-‘ in the wake of the wealth manager’s decision to sell its life insurance arm. S&P has flagged the potential for a further downgrade once the sale is completed, noting that the deal will affect AMP’s creditworthiness. Rival ratings agency Moody’s Investor Services recently downgraded the credit rating of AMP Life after it posted a 2018 operating loss of $176m.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, STANDARD AND POOR’S FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, AMP BANK LIMITED, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED

Resources strength holds up reporting season

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 28 : 5-Mar-19

Paul Winter of UBS notes that Australia’s latest February reporting season featured more earnings downgrades than upgrades for the first time in the last four years. Hasan Tevfik of MST Marquee adds that while the reporting season was better than expected, this was largely due to a strong performance by the resources sector, which offset weakness in other sectors. Earnings-per-share growth for S&P/ASX 200 stocks is now forecast to be 6.3 per cent in 2018-19, compared with 7.6 per cent in 2017-18.

CORPORATES
STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 200 INDEX, UBS HOLDINGS PTY LTD, MST MARQUEE, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED