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Business

The Intelligent Investor

Intelligent Investor

Why you should not give up on stocks

infrastructure

Nathan Bell The sharemarket isn't what it was. Even so, some investments stand out from the pack.

Intelligent Investor

Hybrid party over for Westpac?

westpac

Richard Livingston Since the launch of Woolies Notes II nine months ago, the hybrid party has been rocking.

Intelligent Investor

Overseas stocks ripe for the picking (III)

Globe

Nathan Bell Here are two more international stocks worth taking a close look at.

Intelligent Investor

Overseas stocks ripe for the picking (II)

Nathan Bell Here we follow up on other global stocks worth considering for your portfolio.

Intelligent Investor

Why it’s a great time to invest overseas

chsybf

Nathan Bell Cheap, high quality international stocks can now be bought with your still expensive Australian dollars.

Rip off the Greek band aid

Sam Bennett

Richard Livingston Last week, the three parties that constitute Greece’s governing coalition released a policy statement indicating the country would push out by another two years the fiscal deadlines under the country’s bailout program.

Intelligent Investor

NAB sub notes: at sea and no lifejacket

Teenagers cling onto the railing as large waves break over the top of them at Bronte Beach which was closed due to a large swell. Bronte, Sydney. 26th December, 2011. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Richard Livingston Investing in hybrids such as NAB's sub notes appears a safe, secure activity. But just when you need these qualities they sink without trace.

Intelligent Investor

The case for selling IAG

IAG

Nathan Bell IAG is now a riskier business and the possibility of a large capital return has been squandered.

Intelligent Investor

Is it time to sell BHP?

...

Nathan Bell Investors in commodity businesses have long worried about lower prices and China. Now there are two more reasons to fret: pigs and shale gas.

Comments 5

Intelligent Investor

Tide going out at Perpetual

Perpetual

Nathan Bell Perpetual shareholders might take some comfort from the 25 per cent rise in the company’s share price this year - but they shouldn't.

Intelligent Investor

Why CSL is a top 10 business

Vaccine manufacturer CSL is confident its full year earnings for 2011-12 will be stronger.

Nathan Bell Local investors searching for world-class businesses have limited options. But in the area of health, Australia has managed to produce some truly world-class companies.

Intelligent Investor

Why Wesfarmers isn't Australia's Berkshire Hathaway

Wesfarmers chief executive Richard Goyder.

Nathan Bell The two conglomerates are linked by a singular fact: without exceptional management, they tend to be appalling investments.

Intelligent Investor

Evolutionary investing: The Darwin approach

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange August 4, 2011. Investors fled Wall Street in 
the worst stock-market selloff since the depths of the Great 
Recession in early 2009 in what has turned into a full-fledged 
correction.

Nathan Bell Focus on mistaken purchases rather than the stocks that you didn’t buy.

Macquarie vs Goldman Sachs

Muppets

How does our local investment banking champion stack up against the 'muppet' machine?

Intelligent Investor

IAG's CPS: rotten tomatoes with Basel

Tomatoes

Nathan Bell A close look at IAG's convertible preference share offer leaves a clear investment decision.

Intelligent Investor

How to make money on QBE

QBE

Nathan Bell QBE may have been battered after its profit downgrade but an arbitrage opportunity offers a chance for some 'intelligent speculation'.

Comments 14

Intelligent Investor

Harvey Norman: Crisis approaching?

tv  photo by louise kennerley generic tv television pay tv digital sale retail harvey norman     first use afr SPECIALX 88916 afr  080724

Nathan Bell The retailer is running out of time and options to get its business back on a growth track.

Comments 48

Intelligent Investor

How to fix David Jones

dj clearance

Nathan Bell David Jones needs more innovation and there are plenty of things it could do to make it a unique attraction. Here are just a few suggestions.

Comments 15

Intelligent Investor

Commonwealth Bank's shaky future

cba

Nathan Bell Although you wouldn’t see it in the Commonwealth Bank’s latest result, banks are beginning to struggle.

Comments 13

Intelligent Investor

Unlocking the Macquarie value puzzle

macquarie

Nathan Bell Macquarie Group's share price has increased 35 per cent since the low of $19.94 on 26 September, 2011. One might imagine that recent news has been very good indeed. In fact, it has been almost universally bad.

Intelligent Investor

Gassing up on an east coast opportunity

gas

Nathan Bell The age of cheap gas is over. For years, eastern Australia enjoyed among the lowest gas prices in the developed world. At around $3 a gigajoule (gj), gas costs just a third of what it does in West Australia and far lower than the price Europeans or Asians pay.

Intelligent Investor

News Corp rebound holds important lesson

murdoch

Nathan Bell Behavioural economists and successful value investors understand an important truth that most miss:

Intelligent Investor

Carsales cleans up the yard - for now

car money

Nathan Bell Carsales offers some gobsmacking numbers that few businesses enjoy. Then again, the company may not enjoy them for much longer.

Intelligent Investor

A tale of two oil prices

Oil industry.

Nathan Bell Something very strange is happening in oil markets. The two main oil price benchmarks - West Texas Intermediary (WTI) and Brent - are behaving bizarrely.

Intelligent Investor

If gold's a bubble, when will it burst?

Tempting treats from a Gold to Go machine.

Nathan Bell The words 'bubble' and 'gold' aren't exactly strangers. Since gold began its long march from lows of below $300 in the early 2000s, a bubble has been called numerous times.

Comments 40

Intelligent Investor

Woodside on the cheap?

woodside_thumb

Nathan Bell Australia's oil prioducers have seen their share prices hammered along with sliding global crude of late. Woodside, though, is a worth a second look.

Intelligent Investor

Opportunities amid the carnage

Dollar thumb

Nathan Bell Warren Buffett famously said, 'be greedy when others are fearful'. That's easier said than done but now is in fact the time to be greedy.

Comments 17

Intelligent Investor

The carbon tax sideshow

Hazelwood power station

Nathan Bell The carbon tax is neither as ruinous nor as revolutionary as political protagonists on each side would have you believe.

Comments 58

Intelligent Investor

Tap Oil's lucky hand

Oil fields.

Nathan Bell There's a lot to like about Tap Oil but can it overcome its timid past and make the most of its luck?

Intelligent Investor

Once great Rio now second best

rio

Nathan Bell Australian investors today have a choice of two diversified mining giants - BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. But which business is the better bet?

Comments 5

Intelligent Investor

The dark side of the boom

mining

Nathan Bell Want to rent a house in a mining town? Be prepared to stump up thousands of dollars a week for a modest dwelling. Fancy a coffee in Perth? You'll pay the highest price in the land, thanks. Want a hotel at short notice? Forget it.

Comments 1

Intelligent Investor

Follow the leaders

Where are the female business leaders?

Nathan Bell It's worth spending time following talented investors from around the globe, not to seek stock tips but to understand their approach to investing.

Intelligent Investor

How anchoring can set you adrift

Anchor

Nathan Bell The tendency to focus on irrelevant information will get you in trouble if you're an investor.

Comments

Intelligent Investor

Got a stock tip? Give it the 10-point test

Looking for stocks

Nathan Bell How many times has a friend offered you a stock tip? How many have worked out? Here's a guide that may increase the odds in your favour.

Intelligent Investor

Exchange traded funds to avoid

Avoid the trap of growing too fast.

Nathan Bell It pays to read the fine print when investing - particularly if you're looking at certain exchange traded international securities.

Comments 5

Intelligent Investor

Why LNG is the new (black) gold

gas

Nathan Bell Natural gas looks to have a bright future as demand rises fast enough to head off a supply glut.

Intelligent Investor

The dark side of owner-management

Heath Ledger The Dark Knight

Nathan Bell Cellestis highlights why owner managers of companies don't always act in the best interests of all the shareholders.

Comments 2

Intelligent investor

Why the resources boom can't last

Mining

Greg Hoffman If capitalism works, and for the most part, it does, then the resources boom has to either peter out or bust.

Comments 34

Intelligent Investor

Seeds of next banking crisis now being sown

Teacher pointing to raised hands in classroom boarding schoolGeneric

Greg Hoffman The big banks have learned that it pays to be capitalist on the way up and socialist on the way down, and that creates risks for the future.

Comments 30

Institutional Investor

Don't be a stockpicking monkey

Blue balled or vervet monkey.

Greg Hoffman Monkeys are great stockpickers, or so it would seem when good return owe as much to luck than investing skill.

Comments 2

Intelligent Investor

How the GFC changed investing

Crystal ball with picture of Melbourne skyline inside.

Greg Hoffman What investors learned about the best way to respond to major shifts such as the global financial crisis.

Intelligent Investor

How to profit from Buffett the bull

Warren Buffett

Greg Hoffman The famous billionaire is upbeat about the US economy - and there's some sage advice for investors Down Under.

Comments 1

Intelligent Investor

The crowd won't make you rich

crowd

Greg Hoffman We've all got our investing styles, but here's why many aren't worth a cracker.

Comments 3

Intelligent Investor

What's behind the credit drought?

Drought

Greg Hoffman Credit is an economy's rocket fuel, so when the supply starts to falter investors should start asking what's up.

Comments 20

Intelligent Investor

Higher tax for you, higher profits for your fund manager

tax

Greg Hoffman Do you maximise your fund’s reported performance (and hence your employer’s fees) or maximise the actual after-tax returns many of your investors will receive?

Intelligent Investor

Two big risks: China, house prices

money

Greg Hoffman Investors should always consider what might go wrong. For 2011, China, the dollar and Australian house prices loss as among the biggest threats.

Comments 8

Intelligent Investor

Avoid ANZ (unless you're a fund manager)

ANZ

Greg Hoffman Fund managers prefer to fail conventionally and lose money with the rest of the herd. Even if they must buy ANZ, doesn't mean you must.

Comments 4

Intelligent Investor

CommBank bonds under the microscope

commonwealth

Greg Hoffman A $500m bond offering from Commonwealth Bank is a good prompt for a closer look at the bank's financing.

Intelligent Investor

Why Westpac is worth buying, despite risks

Westpac

Greg Hoffman It’s important to recognise an investment in any of Australia’s big banks is akin to a “reverse lottery”, offering every chance of a decent return but a small chance of a big loss.

Intelligent Investor

How to profit from a strong dollar

Cash

Greg Hoffman Australia may well be viewed as an economic oasis from abroad. Here's how to make it work for your stock portfolio.

Comments

Intelligent Investor

Tabcorp and QR National: A week of spin

QR National

Greg Hoffman QR National’s spin doctors weren’t the only ones working the phones last week.

Intelligent Investor

In a quandary over QR National

QR-National

Greg Hoffman Even if QR National isn't a great long-term bet, it doesn't mean there won't be a price spike at the opening.

Comments 1

Intelligent Investor

Would Rich Dad buy QR National?

QR National | Queensland Rail

Greg Hoffman Somebody's going to make a lot of money out of the QR National float - but it's probably not investors who invest into the IPO.

Comments 7

Intelligent Investor

Australia's 10 best businesses

GOLD

Greg Hoffman Some of our top picks are companies that have lagged the overall market, such as Computershare - here's why.

Intelligent Investor

Santos disappointment provides opportunity

Gas generic

Greg Hoffman Just five years ago, Santos was largely a domestic gas business with most of its production coming from ageing Cooper Basin fields.

Intelligent Investor

BHP morphs into an ideology

bhp

Greg Hoffman Australia's biggest company is no longer just a stock. It's also become a bet on Australia's increasing ties to Asia's dynamism.

Comments 2

Intelligent Investor

Dodging the deflation bullet

Gun

Greg Hoffman There are ways to minimise the damage to your portfolio if the major economies sink into deflation. Trouble is, many of them are outside Australia.

Comments 7

Intelligent Investor

Investing lessons from AMP and QBE results

QBE

Greg Hoffman Over time, the market is more of a weighing machine than a voting one. That's why AMP and QBE are now worth a second look.

Telstra’s dividend under siege

Telstra

Greg Hoffman Telstra’s problems are similar to those of the Greek government - both face a sluggish or even negative revenue outlook and rely on licks of debt from their lenders.

Intelligent Investor

Lessons from the Kathmandu float

Kathmandu thumbnail, new design set

Greg Hoffman The sharemarket is an expensive place to learn - as investors in Kathmandu's float have learned to their cost.

Intelligent Investor

Update your watchlist: it’s reporting season

Greg Hoffman Over the coming weeks analysts across the country will turn their attention to profit reporting season. It’s a difficult one to prepare for, as a couple of recent warnings from financial stocks illustrate.

Intelligent Investor

How Australia's banks could trigger a property crash

Housing construction

Greg Hoffman It's not just a case that falling property prices would hurt the banks - the opposite would also be true if credit costs start to rise.

Comments 49

Intelligent Investor

Bank headlines you won't want to see

Storm

Greg Hoffman Few people understand how dependent our banks are on foreign debt and how exposed it leaves them to future market convulsions.

Intelligent Investor

Do our banks have an Achilles' heel?

Achilles

Greg Hoffman Australia's big banks survived the global financial crisis but they have retained their Achilles' heel.

Intelligent Investor

Dulux's pretty picture, Part II

Paint

Greg Hoffman Strong brands, high market shares and, yes, a potential takeover from Azko Nobel mean there is a lot to like about DuluxGroup.

Intelligent Investor

Dulux paints a pretty picture

Greg Hoffman With a dearth of bona fide floats in recent months, Dulux was the closest thing we've had for a while, so it's worth taking a close look.

Intelligent Investor

Paul the octopus proves Buffett was right

Octopus

Greg Hoffman The unlikely hero of the recent World Cup of football? Paul the octopus, a common cephalopod living in a tank at a Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany.

Intelligent Investor

The art of corporate influence

Art

Greg Hoffman Why there's no such thing as a free lunch - nor free tickets to the Sydney Sinfonia, for that matter.

Comments 2

Intelligent Investor

House prices dim bank stocks' allure

Housing bubble

Greg Hoffman Australia's steep housing prices are one reason why we're not ready to recommend buying shares in Australia's best banks.

Intelligent Investor

Recent market pullback may signal 'new normal'

ASX

Greg Hoffman In many ways it feels as if the world is conforming to a ''new normal''.

Intelligent Investor

Happy bargain hunting

On the lookout for bargains.

Greg Hoffman It's the smaller stocks that add the spice - and that can come in for the most savage treatment at the hands of tax loss sellers.

Intelligent Investor

Making the wrong call on Telstra

complaint

Greg Hoffman Analysing medical diagnoses can be a bit like interpreting financial news. Sometime the initial call is wrong, and Telstra's latest 'deal' may be a case in point.

Intelligent Investor

Beware of Tigers in the sharemarket

Tiger Woods

Greg Hoffman Just because it's easier to play the stock market than the golf course, doesn't mean it's fair game for everybody.

Intelligent Investor

Value in Valemus float?

Construction

Greg Hoffman On the face of it, Valemus is the latest share offering that investors should avoid.

Intelligent Investor

Investors given mushroom treatment

mushroom

Greg Hoffman Australians are the world's second-largest consumers of mushrooms. That growers struggle to survive tells us a lot about the market forces at play.

Intelligent Investor

Australia's best managers

Executive

Greg Hoffman Good company chiefs need to do two things well: run the business well and know where to park the profits. Who would you count among Australia's best?

Comments 4

Intelligent Investor

Big falls prompt big questions

Crystal Ball

Greg Hoffman Steep falls in share prices make it a good time to think about the sort of financial advice you really need.

Intelligent Investor

Floats, spin and Munger's Rule

Captain Stubing, from The Love Boat

Greg Hoffman Figures and projections aren't very useful guides when it comes to share floats. It's amazing how many big investors haven't worked that out.

Intelligent Investor

Europe's debt spectre spooks investors

Scream mask.

Greg Hoffman Europe's debt woes have some renowned investors more worried about the state of the global economy than ever. Is that view overdone?

Intelligent Investor

Miners' call doesn't ring true

tax

Greg Hoffman Working out what a super-profit tax would do your investment portfolio isn't being made any easier by the confusing message advanced by the miners.

Intelligent Investor

AMP hits an inflection point

AMP logo.

Greg Hoffman AMP promised accountability after its overseas misadventure. Here's what we got.

Intelligent Investor

AMP's performance in the spotlight

AMP

Greg Hoffman AMP set itself an ambitious five-year plan in mid-2005. Here's how close it's come to meeting those goals.

Intelligent Investor

Brokers ignore risk on Telstra

Telstra

Greg Hoffman The unanimity of analysts' confidence about Telstra maintaining its dividend should ring more alarm bells.

Comments 2

Intelligent Investor

Time to step up to the bar for Foster's

Fosters ad

Greg Hoffman While it isn’t yet a compelling bargain, Foster’s does, after many years, now offer reasonable value.

Intelligent Investor

Lifting a glass to Foster's shares

beer

Greg Hoffman Boring is not always a bad thing when it comes to investments, as Foster's Group demonstrates.

Intelligent Investor

Time to give up debt addiction

Debt gauge

Greg Hoffman There are reasons for welcoming the world's renewed fears about excessive debt levels. Kicking the habits of a generation, though, won't be painless.

Comments 11

Intelligent Investor

Corporate Express shareholders get short shrift

Unhappy shareholders

Greg Hoffman For a company about to be taken over, Corporate Express should have told shareholders a lot more than they did in their 'trading update'.

Intelligent Investor

Hastings hangs small investors out to dry

Airing your laundry in public

Greg Hoffman A ‘healthy discussion’ has erupted around the latest deal announced by the $1b Australian Infrastructure Fund and its Westpac-linked managers Hastings Funds.

Intelligent Investor

Luscombe keeps his lustre

Michael Luscombe wearing a digitally added crown.

Greg Hoffman Woolies' chief Michael Luscombe is no show pony but that doesn't diminish his sparkle.

Intelligent Investor

Australia's best and worst CEOs

boss

Greg Hoffman Alas, great chiefs are in relatively short supply. It makes sense that investors know who they are

Comments 3

Intelligent Investor

Why you should worry about Greece

greece

Greg Hoffman Stock investors have many reasons not to be complacent after a year of strong gains. Greece is just one of them.

Comments 3

Intelligent Investor

Billions lost by ignoring the Fairstar principle

gambling

Greg Hoffman Just because an investment is returning small wins consistently doesn't mean it will continue to enrich the punter.

Comments

Intelligent Investor

Failure of a 'foolproof' gambling system

Gambling_Roulette

Greg Hoffman Consistent small wins can disguise the true relationship between risk and reward.

Comments 6

Intelligent Investor

Property valued properly

Charles Darwin.

Greg Hoffman Charles Darwin wasn't much into property speculation but even he knew something about Australian prices didn't fit.

Comments 91

Intelligent Investor

Why property pricing doesn't add up

<p />

Greg Hoffman If you compare housing to stocks, the former assets look about 20-30% overpriced if value is taken into account.

Comments 45

Intelligent Investor

Lighting float to bail out bankers

Eco light bulb.

Greg Hoffman Now should be a good time for investors to snap up IPO stock. Some offerings can be a real turn off - such as Gerald Lighting.

Comments 1

Intelligent Investor

The China bubble: don't predict, prepare

China

Greg Hoffman Few of us will pick the timing of a China bust. Here's a few tips about what investors should be doing in the meantime.

Comments 41

Intelligent Investor

Time to act on China bubble?

China slide

Greg Hoffman A calamity in China is a possibility and it's worth considering the implications of any sharp slowdown for Australia.

Comments 68

Intelligent Investor

The China bubble

China - dragon

Greg Hoffman An analyst with a track record of identifying speculative bubbles before they pop doesn't like the look of China's prospects.

Comments 34

Intelligent Investor

Harvey picks the wrong pay option

Gerry Harvey

Greg Hoffman Gerry Harvey made a lot of good calls as he built up his retail empire. Issuing senior execs a sway of options is not one of them.

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