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Turnbull shunned as voters face more fiscal folly under Shorten

Peter Warnes  |  03 Aug 2018Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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There are two words Malcolm Turnbull is highly unlikely to hear on the evening of the next federal election: “and still”—Australia’s Prime Minister. Investors should start bracing themselves for a change in government at the next federal election—May 2019 at the latest.

The coalition got smashed in the Super Saturday byelections, with the loss of support in Queensland alarming. With a margin of one, government will be lost in Queensland, without worrying about the other states or territories. So, get ready for a Bill Shorten-led Australia.

In sporting teams, there are “go to” players. Those who can turn the game around to achieve a desired outcome. With a Labor victory now looking increasingly certain, they will turn to a “go to” group to seal the objective. These “go tos” will include those earning over $250,000 per year. Tax rates will be increased to lift revenue. Self-funded retirees will also be rounded up to support the cause. Surplus franking credits are already in the firing line, to cut outgoings. Both measures, among others, will be required to fund a pipeline of self-interest driven election promises, which will increase the nation’s record debt levels and debilitating interest payments. The level of fiscal irresponsibility on both sides is palpable.

Australia’s migration continues to make headlines and fosters emotional pro and con discussion. Given our strained budget position, do political parties look at the budget implications of the policy in terms of revenue from personal taxation versus welfare outgoings? In 2017, Australia’s net overseas migration (NOM) totalled 240,400 and accounted for 62% of our population growth. The NOM consisted of over 510,000 immigrants and 270,000-odd emigrants. Are higher tax payers leaving and low or no tax payers arriving? Why isn’t there more information available on the budget implications of the migration policy, including the cost of additional infrastructure and services?

Could FAANGs become dentures? What can happen when priced for perfection

The technology sector has led the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to record levels in 2018. The sector, charged by a cleverly named powerful cohort the FAANGs, (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google) has been on the tear, with investor expectations high. These stocks were priced for perfection. June quarter earnings and outlook statements were to be put under the microscope to ensure valuations were justified.

Two of the FAANGs came up short and let the side and investors down. First Netflix and then Facebook disappointed, the share prices of both collapsing 20%. Another high-profile “tech”, President Trump’s Twitter, also slumped 20% on disappointing outlook comments. Facebook’s market capitalisation fell a mere US$120bn ($162bn), the largest single-day collapse in market cap of any publicly-listed company in history, probably not the history-making event investors had in mind. Combined, the market caps of Facebook and Netflix lost US$156bn (A$210bn), the equivalent of the combined market caps of Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank.

The passive exchange traded funds (ETFs) had no chance of getting out. They must wait until investor redemptions trigger the manager to raise cash and the computer takes over hitting the bids. Are these the early signs of a meaningful meltdown in the tech sector? Investors are paying up for short-term downside protection and fewer are entertaining the possibility of further upside in the Nasdaq benchmark. Premiums on short-term put options have surged since Facebook face planted.

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The resolve of investors in FAANG and other technology-related ETFs holds the key. There is evidence of creeping nervousness in the space, with the Nasdaq Composite falling by over 1% on three consecutive trading days after hitting an all-time high on 25 July. This last occurred three years ago.

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Peter Warnes is Morningstar's head of equities research. Any Morningstar ratings/recommendations contained in this report are based on the full research report available from Morningstar.

 


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is Morningstar's head of equities research.

© 2021 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither Morningstar, its affiliates, nor the content providers guarantee the data or content contained herein to be accurate, complete or timely nor will they have any liability for its use or distribution. This information is to be used for personal, non-commercial purposes only. No reproduction is permitted without the prior written consent of Morningstar. Any general advice or 'regulated financial advice' under New Zealand law has been prepared by Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd (ABN: 95 090 665 544, AFSL: 240892), or its Authorised Representatives, and/or Morningstar Research Ltd, subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc, without reference to your objectives, financial situation or needs. For more information, refer to our Financial Services Guide (AU) and Financial Advice Provider Disclosure Statement (NZ). Our publications, ratings and products should be viewed as an additional investment resource, not as your sole source of information. Morningstar’s full research reports are the source of any Morningstar Ratings and are available from Morningstar or your adviser. Past performance does not necessarily indicate a financial product's future performance. To obtain advice tailored to your situation, contact a licensed financial adviser. Some material is copyright and published under licence from ASX Operations Pty Ltd ACN 004 523 782. The article is current as at date of publication.

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