Investing updates: Sept. 2021

In this post I’ll be reviewing shares I recommended in Invest 6.0. Many thanks to Sam for contributing in part to it. He has a PhD in Accounting, and will be a regular finance and tax writer on Shirl’s Pearls.  

Many shareholders, and self-funded retirees especially, received their paychecks in dividends this month. Last year was a drought for most of us – some dividends were scrapped altogether and others were reduced substantially. 

Thankfully, Australian banks have recovered from the millions they paid in compensation and fines as a result of the recent Royal Commission, and the shock of the pandemic. I’m glad to report that dividends this September are (almost) back to normal! 

The extended lockdowns in NSW, Victoria and the ACT may result in more ‘bad bear days’ for shareholders and super funds. Each state (apart from WA, evidently) is struggling to keep its economy alive, and some are worse off than others.

If there is the slightest risk of inflation, the Reserve Bank will likely increase interest rates; the way I look at it, from such a low base it’s not likely to hurt the property market. But borrowing beyond our manageable limits is too risky.

No-one can, or should, attempt to predict the future.  Stick to the fundamentals and don’t get carried away by the hype. ‘A rising tide lifts all ships’ — but don’t be one of the dead fish on the sand when the tide goes out!  

While things are still uncertain, it would be a good idea to hang on to some cash until we spot an interesting stock to buy. One such stock could be Jalna Dairy Foods (jalna.com.au), believed to be planning to list on the ASX. I like it and will keep you posted. 

New listings known as ‘IPOs’ (Initial Public Offerings) of mining stocks are also coming in thick and fast. Why? Because gold, silver, copper, aluminium, nickel, graphene and ‘rare earths’ are now in demand. Everything to do with technology and quantum computing will need these materials – and there will surely be more exciting discoveries to come! 

The most exciting of these materials is GRAPHENE, the building block of graphite, which has been termed a ‘miracle metal’ due to its exceptional strength (it is 200 times stronger than steel) and good electrical conductivity. As a result, graphene has many potential applications, including batteries, transistors, computer chips, medical equipment, and electric vehicles. For example, introducing graphene to the lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones and laptops has been found to make the batteries more lightweight and charge much faster than other lithium-ion batteries. Researchers are still learning about graphene and its properties, so watch this space!

The key factor with these materials is do we refine them here in Australia, or send them off to Malaysia or China for this? I would love for us to do it all. Here’s where energy supply and costs come in. I believe we’ll see reliable, emission-free nuclear energy, shunned for so long, finally up for debate.

The Sydney Morning Herald published an interesting article last August on Australian innovation. It’s not related to the stocks I’ve picked, but there are many clues that will lead you to at least 1 or 2 industry and tech stocks that are up and coming.  

Meanwhile, we’re counting on the vaccine to deliver us from lockdown by Christmas. I will be so happy when all businesses – the travel and hospitality industries particularly – get their credit card and Eftpos terminals working furiously again. Don’t we miss our retail therapy? The touch and feel of what we want to buy … browsing and enjoying a coffee in a busy shopping centre … let online shopping take a back seat for a change!   

A word of caution when investing in IPOs of small mining stocks (which make up the lion’s share of all new ASX listings due to the Australian economy’s emphasis on resources) – these are speculative, as they are still in the ‘discovery’ stage and have yet to start production – they don’t produce any revenue. 

Watch for words describing the company’s projects as ‘exciting’, ‘significant potential’, ‘high grade’, ‘highly prospective’, ‘close to ports’ and ‘established infrastructure’ – these are all signs of a speculative investment. This means that in any given 52-week period, there is a high likelihood that the stock will at least double in price – but with an equally high (if not higher) likelihood that it will halve in price too!

My advice on speculative shares? If they are issued at 0.50c or less a share, I pick one or two which I believe have potential and buy $1,000 worth (or not more than you or I am prepared to lose). I look at the people involved and their track record: in particular, whether they have technical know-how and experience in the business. We’ll explore this in more detail in future posts.

Here’s an update of share picks from the table in Invest 6.0

I am pleased with my stock picks so far – and especially happy with the dividends! I will certainly hold on to those for a few years, Telstra especially.

Next week, Sam will help us understand the tax implications of franked dividends. Tax law is complex – but doesn’t have to be boring, and we should all learn the basics on our path to building wealth!

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