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Co-founder & CEO of AllenWargent property buyer's agents, offices in Brisbane (Riverside) & Sydney (Martin Place), and CEO of WargentAdvisory (providing subscription analysis, reports & services to institutional clients).
4 x finance/investment author - 'Get a Financial Grip: a simple plan for financial freedom’ (2012) rated Top 10 finance books by Money Magazine & Dymocks.
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Thursday, 20 March 2014
Share markets: risk and return?
Shares down a chunky 1.2% today, mainly due to offshore news, since there's not a lot happening in terms of local data this week.
With record low interest rates in Australia, share markets have been happy hunting grounds indeed for the last half decade or so.
Australia's XJO (the black line below) has not recovered in quite such a strong manner as the US market due to the composition of our index, but returns have nevertheless been very strong for some years now.
Although the various sectors of the market previously diverged, falling commodity prices have seen a pullback in resources stock valuations.
The impact of the mining construction and commodities boom is clearly visible in the chart below, with resources stocks going a tremendously strong run from 2003.
The financial crisis changed the outlook for mining companies adversely as commodity prices fell dramatically, before they staged something of a recovery.
Time in the market, or timing...
Long-term investors who are focusing on increasing dividend streams will have little to fear from today's market, but what about those with a shorter time horizon?
There are a number of factors which pose an imminent risk to the market, including variously a potential slowdown in China's economic growth (and thus demand for commodities), geopolitical worries in Ukraine, and the US Federal Reserve apparently preparing to continue tapering back its stimulus measures as the unemployment rate falls.
Of course, there are always possible causes of an imminent correction, but these seem to be some of the salient risks at present.
That said, with interest rates stuck at just 2.50% for the foreseeable future, most forecasters expect share markets to be higher by the end of 2014.
Below is a clearer chart of the XJO's performance since 2004.
In terms of prevailing market valuations, you'd be hard pressed to make much of a case for value based upon trailing price/earnings (P/E) ratios.
Average dividend yields in the Aussie market remain fair at a shade over 4%.
The market seems optimistic of improved future earnings, and therefore on a forward P/E basis, the market is presenting :a somewhat more appealing ratio in the mid-teens.
In summary, value in the market at present is at best fair.