Investment News

The only problem with short-term benefits is that they are only available for a limited time. Your own, long-term wealth must be able to withstand the test of time.

Read our insights to keep up to date with the latest news, trends and changes related to investment strategies and advice.

My thoughts on Pocket Money

Just like any other parenting choice, the topic of pocket money is one that chocks up the online forums, and everyone has an opinion.

Our kids are now at the age where pocket money has entered the chat, and the extra pressure to get it right as we are both financial advisers always weighs heavy! I thought it would be worth sharing my thinking about this, and maybe you can take some ideas away for your own family.

It is essential to first form your family philosophy—the actual mechanics can be very simple, but as we know, the emotional and psychological underpinnings of money are far from it. Some questions to think of as a family:

  • Does pocket money need to be earned, or is it a UBI style set amount per week?
  • If earned, how is it earned?
  • How much is appropriate?
  • How will your children know the value of money once received?
  • Will your children be required to purchase some of the ‘extras’ normally purchased by parents?
  • Will you set incentives for the use of money, e.g. extra dollars if it is saved, invested or donated rather than spent straight away?
  • Are there lessons you want to impart on trading time for money, or producing something of value for money? For example, you may say, ‘Do X job for the household for X dollars’, or something like ‘Can you figure out a way to save X in electricity/groceries? And if you do, then you can have half the difference per month’.

On the topic of kids starting an income producing business, I would put it outside the realm of “pocket money”, but it is also worth discussing.

I know personally, I would like my kids to learn they need to put in work to be able to earn money, but I also don’t want them asking for each basic household task, ‘Will I get money for this?’ (This actually happened, and it horrified me).


I love the bucket strategy of spend, save, invest, donate – as this mindset can carry them right through to adulthood and spawns many subsequent lessons along the way. I will also try to mimic the different real life implications of saving, investing and donating—the earnings and tax deductions—that the dopamine hit of extra money or helping people can be just as strong as the instant gratification of spending immediately.

Another concept I love is getting older kids involved in your household budget to help look for savings that they can get a piece of/benefit out of. I have heard a great story about a teen shopping around the internet and utilities and creating a family meal plan that saved enough for them in bills and groceries to take a family holiday. Great lessons in budgeting, but also saving money on commodity-style items to direct to things that bring you joy.

Would love to hear any tips from readers as to things you felt work with your kids or grandkids or something maybe your parents did that sticks with you, and please email them through to!



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Financial moves to make in your 30’s

I recently turned 30. It’s a strange age. Some of your friends have settled down and have children, whilst others are backpacking around southeast Asia. Some are looking to purchase an investment property, whilst others are hosting big parties in their shared house of ten. Regardless of which stage you are at, the thirties are an excellent chance to take some of that ‘grown-up medicine’ and to look to start to get our finances in order; here are some places to start.


1. Set some goals:

Money is just the vehicle towards helping you live your best life. Everyone will have different goals, so your financial plan should be different. If you’re the type of person who wants to live overseas, then buying a house because you feel like you should and others are telling you to may not be the best option. Once we have goals, it’s easier to know what we must do to achieve them. Otherwise, we can continue on a road to nowhere.


2. Review what you currently have: 

Personal finances are usually left or pushed into the too-hard basket. You may not be as passionate about it as I am and, therefore, lack the motivation to think about it (completely normal). Simple things like reviewing what you currently have can pay big dividends.

Review your superannuation and make sure that your fund is appropriate. Check about how your fund has been performing compared to others. Please have a look at your investment options within your super and make sure that it’s appropriate for you. Think about whether or not you would like to be invested in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner and see if your current investments align with that.

You should also review what insurance you have. If you have young children or some debt with a partner, such as a home loan, then life cover could be critical. If you’re working and rely on your income to live, then you need income protection. Insurances aren’t sexy, and not many people like paying for them, but if something goes wrong and you don’t have them, it can create financial pain that can be hard to recover from.


3. Build an emergency fund:

Life is unpredictable, and unexpected expenses can arise at any time. Aim to build an emergency fund with three to six months’ living expenses. This financial cushion will provide peace of mind and help you avoid dipping into your savings or investments during tough times.


4. Look towards the future:

Investing is a powerful tool for building wealth over time. It can be slow to start with, but compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world; the earlier you start, the more rewards you reap. Putting some surplus cash towards investments that have growth potential can help you fund some future goals you may have as well. There are options for all different starting balances, so you don’t need to wait and put it off any longer.


5. Stop paying the lazy tax:

Only some people love to have a strict budget in place, and if that’s you, there are things we can do to get our cash flow under control. Reviewing your expenses is essential; a lot of little savings can add up, especially when everything is getting more expensive.

Have a particular look at your subscriptions, whether they be streaming services or gym memberships and make sure you’re using them and getting value out of them. If not, look at ending them or looking at alternatives.

The lazy tax can also apply to your banking. We often choose a bank early on in life and stick to it. Review your interest rate and ensure that what you are getting stacks up. This can also apply to your home loan if you have one. It can pay to do some research, as there are often no rewards for loyalty in this area.  


7. Estate Planning:

It’s never too early to think about estate planning, especially if you have dependents. Setting up a will now can last until your situation changes and doesn’t need to be too difficult or costly. It will mean that your wishes will be carried out if something happens to you.


8. Reach out if you’re unsure:

For some people, discussing personal finances is like speaking another language, but seeking guidance from a good adviser can help simplify the situation. A good adviser should also be able to educate you along the way. Using your money in the best way possible is important, so don’t let it fall by the wayside just because you’re unsure where to start.


As always, we are here to help. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at


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October 2023 Economic & Market Review – Geopolitical Tensions and Economic Resilience

Talking points

  1. Geopolitical Tensions Impact Markets: A surprise attack by Hamas in Israel on October 7 led to the outbreak of war in the Middle East. Elevated geopolitical tensions contributed to further uncertainty in an environment where fast-rising bond yields already besieged financial markets. 
  2. Investment Markets Fall: It was a case of more of the same in October as investors endured further losses across most asset classes. Excluding dividends, the benchmark US S&P 500 was down 2.2% in October, the Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 1.4%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 2.8%. This weakness was also seen in various global indices across developed and emerging markets. In local shares, the ASX 200 lost 2.8% after accounting for dividends. Small caps and listed property were thumped once again as rising risk-free rates dented valuations and increased funding costs. Gold and Bitcoin were noteworthy positive performers as investors sought safety and diversification.
  3. Weak Australian Dollar Benefits Australian Investors: The Australian dollar traded lower throughout October, again insulating unhedged domestic investors holding international investments. 
  4. Fixed Interest and Bond Market Turbulence: The rout in fixed interest returns continued, where the US 10-year Treasury yield briefly touched 5% for the first time since 2007. The sell-off permeated the global government bond market (including Australia) and in credit, with wider spreads seen in investment grade and high-yield bonds.
  5. Economic Resilience and Data Trends: On the economic front, the United States saw strong data, including impressive job creation, resilient wage growth, and robust economic growth. In contrast, Australia’s economic indicators were mixed, with a declining unemployment rate but concerns about inflation. European economies showed mixed results, while China’s industrial production, GDP, and retail sales performed positively despite challenges in the real estate sector and potential export restrictions.


Market Commentary

Investor tensions were further heightened in October as war broke out between Hamas and Israel. Despite the conflict, oil prices declined by around 10% during the month, with most of the damage coming in the final trading week. Meanwhile, European gas prices rose on fears of global supply chain disruptions. Commodity prices were a relatively bright spot in October, particularly where safe-haven gold was concerned.

Impaired sentiment continued to impact major indices, including the infrastructure and REIT sectors. Higher real yields have continued to detract from property and infrastructure returns, with small-cap returns experiencing a similar fate. The weaker Australian dollar (AUD) was again welcomed by domestic investors with foreign asset exposures. Indeed, the depreciation of the AUD over the last decade has strongly benefited unhedged domestic investors, particularly in developed market equities, where the depreciation has been more pronounced. For example, the annualised return for the MSCI ACWI-ex Australia has been boosted by more than three percentage points compared to its performance in local currency terms (11.9% vs 8.8%).

In fixed interest, government bond returns were negative in most developed markets as yields rose to multi-year highs in October. In Australia, heightened concerns around the path of inflation and interest rates saw 10-year government bonds briefly touch 5% later in the month. Japanese government bonds were not spared from the sell-off, as investors questioned the sustainability of the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) yield curve control policy. During its October meeting, the BoJ redefined the 1% upper limit on yields from a strict boundary to a more flexible “reference” point.


Economic Commentary

On the economic front, US data regularly printed stronger than expected. The September nonfarm payrolls report stunned economists with the creation of more than 300,000 jobs (double the consensus estimate). Wage growth remained resilient, and inflation data, while trending lower, remained too sticky in the minds of market analysts. The advance estimate for Q3 US economic growth also shot the lights out, with activity surging at an annualised rate of 4.9%. Consumer spending drove the increase, while residential investment rose for the first time in nearly two years.

In Australia, the September unemployment rate fell to a three-month low of 3.6%, driven by a decline in workforce participation. Meanwhile, the RBA paused official interest rates for the fourth consecutive month in October while retaining a hawkish stance in its commentary. Finally, the CPI inflation data for the September quarter delivered an upside surprise that left economists scrambling to raise estimates. A much stronger-than-expected retail sales print (triple the consensus estimate) added further impetus to the view that the cash rate would be hiked at the November meeting.

Elsewhere, European activity was mixed, with soft German data prints pointing to further weakness. In contrast, the UK economy showed signs of moderate improvement. Turning to China, industrial production, GDP, and retail sales were positive surprises. However, continued weakness in the real estate sector and reports of further US restrictions on AI chip exports dampened investor sentiment.


Want to discuss the above information or your investments?

We hope you find the information useful, and if you want to discuss any details further or discuss your personal investment strategy, then please book a chat here




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September 2023 Economic & market review – Fed Higher for Longer and Economic Contrasts

Talking Points

  1. Global shares decline amid fed’s ‘higher for longer’ stance: Global stock markets saw a downturn in September as the Federal Reserve’s commitment to holding interest rates higher disappointed investors.
  2. Market malaise and increased volatility: Market sentiment soured, leading to widespread declines in major indices and increased market volatility. This trend was marked by a decline in trading volumes and prominent short positioning across financial markets.
  3. Challenges in key sectors: Several sectors, including listed property, global REITs, and infrastructure stocks, faced challenges and underperformance due to changing market conditions, with energy and value sectors offering limited respite.
  4. Fixed-interest markets and concerns over bond bear market: The sell-off in US Treasuries and rising yields had a ripple effect on other sovereign bonds, including Australian bonds. This situation raised concerns about a potential bond bear market, causing losses in composite bond indices and affecting the gold sector.
  5. Global economic contrasts: The US experienced robust growth on the economic front despite challenges such as rising unemployment rates and inflation. In contrast, Europe grappled with higher oil prices and unexpected interest rate hikes. Key economic indicators from China also showed signs of improvement, indicating a potential shift in the manufacturing sector.




Financial markets took another leg down in September as investors came to grips with the narrative that the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) would need to keep interest rates higher for longer. Excluding dividends and share buybacks, the benchmark S&P 500 was down 4.9% in September, the Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 3.5%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped 5.8%. This weakness was not limited to the US, as global indices across developed and emerging markets fell. However, a silver lining for unhedged Australian investors was the Australian dollar trading lower throughout September, partly insulating them from the losses.

In local shares, the ASX could not maintain its momentum from a rally in late August, with the S&P/ASX 200 index falling 2.8% after accounting for dividends. Small caps fared comparatively worse, posting a 4% decline. However, these moves paled compared to the 8.6% drop in listed property stocks, where rising risk-free rates revived valuation concerns and detracted from the impressive rally in A-REITs at the beginning of the financial year.

Fixed interest returns disappointed defensive investors, where exposures to safe-haven cash and high-grade credit continue outperforming government bonds. The ongoing large quantum of debt issuance by the US Treasury is proving to be an overhang. Finally, an extension of cuts in oil production by Saudi Arabia and Russia reignited inflation concerns and drove the price of crude above US$90/bbl.


Market Commentary

Global shares accelerated their downward trend in September as the Fed’s ‘higher for longer’ theme rang more loudly in the aftermath of the September FOMC meeting. Upwardly revised economic projections by Fed officials were a case of ‘good news is bad news’, with investors disappointed a further rate hike could occur in 2023 before making way for potentially just two rate cuts in 2024. The Fed’s ongoing resolve to tame inflation was not well received by investors, with matters exacerbated by another lift in oil prices as Russia and Saudi Arabia coordinated their efforts to extend restrictions on output. As a result, transport-related costs were higher during the month.

The malaise in sentiment saw broad declines across major indices, often characterised by poor market breadth as decliners easily outnumbered gainers, culminating in most sectors finishing in the red. Trading volumes decreased significantly, while increased volatility and short positioning became prominent features across financial markets. 

Our domestic sharemarket was not spared, as a jump in real yields put listed property to the sword, completely wiping the momentum seen in the sector since mid-July. Global REITs and infrastructure stocks similarly underperformed, with minimal respite to be found outside of energy and value plays.

In fixed-interest markets, the sell-off in US Treasurys continued in earnest, dragging other sovereigns along for the ride, including Australian bonds. Yields at the longer end of the maturity spectrum were particularly hard hit, imposing losses on composite bond indices and stoking anxiety that the bond bear market, which commenced in late 2021 had further to play out. Furthermore, the increase in yields and accompanying strength in the US dollar ensured that the gold sector underperformed.


Economic Commentary

On the economic front, data releases provided support that the US economy was experiencing a period of robust growth in the September quarter. In contrast, Europe was struggling with higher oil prices and an unexpected lift in official interest rates. 

In the US, jobs market data remained strong despite a rise in the unemployment rate from 3.8%. Nonfarm payrolls exceeded expectations, and wage growth remained firm while job openings continued to outpace the available workers. Underlying inflation showed further signs of stickiness, and there was a reversal in the favourable base effects seen earlier this year. Notably, the US national debt reached US$33 trillion for the first time in September, while “excess” savings by households from the pandemic had now been depleted. This resulted in growing credit card balances, especially among poorer cohorts.

On the domestic front, the RBA again paused the official cash rate at 4.10% at its September meeting, with the minutes revealing that the central bank was concerned with the impact strong population growth was having on rents and house prices. The monthly CPI indicator for August jumped to 5.2%, as rising fuel and utility prices led to a rebound in inflation from a 4.9% gain in July. It was the first increase in annual inflation since April.

In China, the manufacturing sector finally stopped contracting in September, with key indicators pointing to a slight expansion. Another positive sign was that August retail sales exceeded expectations and accelerated from the previous month, posting the largest increase since May.


How can we help

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August 2023 Economic & market review – Market turbulence and emerging market challenges

Talking Points:

  1. Market Volatility in August: August witnessed significant market volatility driven by rising yields and negative developments in China. This turbulence had an impact on investor returns and raised concerns.
  2. Emerging Markets’ Struggles: Emerging market equities, in particular, faced substantial challenges during the month due to China’s faltering property market and its measured approach to stimulus measures. This highlighted the vulnerability of these markets.
  3. US Stock Performance: US stock indices, such as the S&P 500, Dow Jones, and Nasdaq Composite, experienced a roller coaster ride in August. They initially declined substantially but partially recovered by the month’s end, signalling market uncertainty.
  4. Bond Market Headwinds: Global bond indices encountered difficulties as a sell-off resumed, partly triggered by Fitch’s controversial downgrade of the US Government’s credit rating. Additionally, increased bond issuance by the US Treasury added to the selling pressure, impacting bond markets.
  5. Economic Outlook and Central Bank Actions: The economic outlook highlighted concerns about inflation, particularly in the US, where strong economic data raised the possibility of more rate hikes. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) maintained a cautious stance on its cash rate, indicating its data-dependent approach and the uncertainties in the economic landscape.



Investors endured a difficult August as a combination of rising yields and negative news flow out of China weighed on returns. Weakness in the Australian dollar also attracted increasing attention but helped insulate unhedged domestic investors from the full brunt of the sell-down. 

Developed market equities were generally lower in local currency terms. However, China’s faltering property market and piecemeal approach to stimulus meant that emerging market equities fared far worse. Increased volatility also impacted small caps as investors sought the safety of many blue-chip names. 

Despite a market rally at the end of August, the benchmark US S&P 500 index closed the month 1.8% lower, while the Dow Jones and Nasdaq Composite were more than 2% lower. The S&P ASX 200 finished August in the red but was well off its lows. However, Australia’s listed property sector staged a strong rebound in the latter half of the month as corporate earnings and asset valuation downgrades came in better than many had expected.

Global bond indices struggled as a sell-off recommenced following Fitch’s controversial downgrade to the US Government’s credit rating from AAA to AA+. Strong bond issuance by the US treasury added to the selling pressure as the Biden administration continued its hefty spending program. Domestic bond markets recovered throughout the month, but this was due to signs that the economy was weakening.


Market Commentary

August was a difficult month for global stocks, with the MSCI All Country World ex-Australia Index moving lower in local currency terms. However, the 3.6% decline in the Australian dollar ultimately delivered positive returns to domestic investors with no (or minimal) currency hedging. The first three weeks of the month were particularly brutal for sharemarkets, with the S&P 500 down more than 3% before a partial recovery in the final week. It was a similar story for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite, with the latter more than 5% lower before the late upswing. These pullbacks are in stark contrast to the market rally seen earlier this year, as the Nasdaq Composite delivered its best first-half performance in forty years.

On domestic markets, disappointing China data and numerous earnings downgrades announced during the August reporting season led to widespread weakness. On a brighter note, the consumer discretionary sector bucked the trend, as retailers often printed much stronger-than-expected profits. Over the first eight months of the year, most sectors remain in the green, with Technology leading the way. Gold has also been a strong performer, but small resources stay firmly in the red. 

In fixed interest markets, the sell-off in US Treasurys saw 10-year bond yields briefly exceed 4.36% (its highest level since 2007) before ending August at 4.11%. The yield curve remains inverted across large segments, with 2-year Treasury Notes briefly exceeding 5.10% and ended the month at 4.86%. The key driver behind these moves was US economic data strength, leading to concerns that the Federal Reserve (the Fed) would keep its benchmark lending rates higher for longer than anticipated. 


Economic Commentary

Despite weakening inflation data in the US, Fed Minutes from the July meeting noted that central bank officials still see “upside risks” to inflation, which could lead to more rate hikes. Specifically, the Fed expressed concern about the tight labour market and the impact solid wage growth could have on spending. July retail sales were robust (almost double expectations), and a measure of personal spending also printed stronger than expected. And despite 30-year mortgage rates exceeding 7%, US house prices continued to rise due to severely constrained supply. Many Americans have previously borrowed at ultra-low fixed rates and prefer to retain and renovate their homes rather than purchase another home and incur much higher financing costs. 

On the domestic front, the RBA again paused the official cash rate in August, with the economy breathing a further sigh of relief. The RBA’s cash rate is now 4.10%. The base case is that they raise rates once more, but the RBA is highly data-dependent and taking small steps to the edge as they can’t quite see where they are yet. 

NAB business confidence improved to its highest level since January, as leading indicators strengthened slightly. There was more positive news in late August when the monthly CPI indicator increased by 4.9% in the year to July 2023, below the market consensus of a 5.2% rise. This was the lowest inflation rate since February 2022, mainly due to a slowdown in housing costs and food prices. However, investor attention in August was laser-focused on China, which reported much weaker-than-expected retail sales and industrial production growth. Concerns over another real estate crisis continued to rise as the heavily indebted Country Garden Holdings fell to a record low and was removed from the Hang Seng stock index in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Evergrande (another Chinese real estate giant) filed for bankruptcy protection in the US.

We now focus on the path for 2024 and the likely easing cycle. We estimate this commences in mid-2024, but there are myriad speedbumps along the way. 


How can we help

Our experienced financial planners provide tailored investment strategies and guidance to suit your unique needs and financial goals. If you’re seeking expert investment advicebook a chat with a Pekada financial planner today.


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What is the government super co-contribution?

If you’re making less than $58,445 in the 2023/24 financial year, and at least 10% of that comes from your job or a business, consider putting extra money into your super after taxes. 

If you do and meet specific criteria, the Government might chip in with up to $500 into your super account—which is a fantastic percentage return on investment! 


How the super co-contribution works

You get the full co-contribution if you make a voluntary non-concessional (after-tax) super contribution of $1,000 and earn $43,445 a year or less. If you put in less than $1,000 or earn between $43,445 and $58,445 a year, you might still get something, but only part of the amount. 

Just remember that what you earn, including regular income, certain benefits, and employer super contributions, counts here. 


Things to consider

  • Remember, once you put money into your super fund, you can’t take it out until you reach a certain age or meet specific conditions. 
  • If you claim a tax deduction for your contributions, you won’t get the government co-contribution, so confirm which is a better outcome for for you.
  • For more details, check out the ATO website at 


How can we help

If you’re considering putting more money into your super, let’s chat. Our experienced advisers can help you figure out which superannuation strategies make sense for you.


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July 2023 Economic & market review – Market resilience thanks to tech strength and central bank moves

Talking Points:

  1. Market Rebound After Initial Weakness: Despite a weak start to the month, the markets regained their composure and staged a strong rally in July.
  2. Tech Sector Dominance in US Markets: The tech sector in the US continued its strong performance, with the Nasdaq Composite posting its fifth straight monthly gain. 
  3. Global Economic Data and Bond Market Reactions: Resilient GDP prints and improved inflationary data were well received by bond markets following a sharp sell-off in the first half of July. The US Fed’s rate hike and the expectation of limited additional tightening provided investors with increased comfort, leading to relatively flat global bond performance.
  4. Recovery in Global Stocks and Commodity Prices: Global stocks rebounded in the second half of July, with emerging market equities and small caps leading the way. Commodity prices also saw a recovery, with the Bloomberg Commodity Index lifting by 6.3% over the month. 
  5. Central Bank Actions and Interest Rate Expectations: Central bank actions played a significant role in market dynamics. The RBA paused its official cash rate after consecutive rate hikes, citing concerns about low labour productivity. The European Central Bank (ECB) raised rates in July, but weak economic activity in Europe led to expectations of a pause in September. In the UK, strong wage data fueled expectations of further interest rate hikes by the Bank of England.


Despite a weak start to the month as bond yields surged and equities sold off, markets regained their composure and staged a strong rally in July. Emerging market equities led the way, as China’s authorities gave the strongest indication yet that stimulatory measures would be implemented to ensure this year’s growth target would not be missed. Oil markets were a beneficiary of the news, as previously announced production cuts also took effect. Elsewhere, global and domestic shares were led higher by small caps and property stocks – areas of the market that have underperformed over the last year.

Meanwhile, in the US, it was more of the same as the tech sector went from strength to strength. The Nasdaq Composite posted its fifth straight monthly gain, with artificial intelligence once again the primary driver. The benchmark S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial indices also performed strongly but failed to match their tech counterparts.

Bond markets welcomed resilient GDP prints and improved inflationary data following a sharp sell-off in the first half of July. Along with a further hike in the US Fed Funds Rate to 5.5%, in line with expectations, investors gained increased comfort that additional tightening would be unlikely. Global bonds finished the month broadly flat, while credit markets held firm as signs of distress were contained to known areas, such as commercial real estate.


Market Commentary

Global stocks rebounded in the second half of July, with the MSCI All Country World ex Australia Index up 2.4% in Australian dollar terms. While the US led developed markets higher, small caps and emerging market equities stole the show, with the latter finishing up 5% over the month. Australian investors enjoyed a 10% return from China, partly reversing double-digit losses that have been incurred in the first half of 2023. Some policy easing by China’s authorities and hopes for significant new stimulus were behind the gains.

 Japanese equities remain the top-performing regional market in 2023 but underperformed in July. The TOPIX gained a more modest 1.5% in local currency terms as the Bank of Japan loosened its yield curve control framework. Some investors fear that the stage is now set for further adjustments that would push discount rates higher. On the ASX, a broad-based rally was underpinned by a rebound in the banks and consumer-facing sectors as interest rates remained on pause at the RBA’s July Board Meeting. Utilities performed strongly, while Healthcare was again weaker.


Global fixed income was volatile throughout July but finished the month largely unchanged as weakness in US Treasuries and European government bonds was offset by upward moves in most other regions, including Australia. Credit spreads tightened on improved economic data, thereby boosting returns and reducing losses incurred over the previous three-month period. It was a similar story for commodity prices, with some year-to-date losses being reversed in July. The broad Bloomberg Commodity Index lifted by 6.3% over the month. Higher oil prices and Russia’s cancellation of the Black Sea grain export deal buoyed the prices of certain soft commodities.

The Australian Dollar rallied against the US Dollar in early July, rising 3.8% due to momentum and lower-than-expected US CPI data. This rally faded in the second half of July to finish the month up 0.8%.


Economic Commentary

Despite data that showed US manufacturing was continuing to contract, the world’s largest economy strengthened on a booming services sector. First quarter growth was revised upward and slightly faster growth was revealed in the advanced estimate for second quarter GDP. This came despite the signs of slowing in the jobs market as June nonfarm payrolls missed expectations for the first time in over a year. The key data print for the month was the June CPI, which fell by more than expected. While core CPI remained stickier downward, US Fed Chair Powell’s current preferred inflation measure (core services ex housing) fell to just below 4% over the year.

 On the domestic front, the RBA paused the official cash rate in July, having raised rates in May and June. The move came hot on the heels of weaker monthly inflation data. The RBA reiterated its concerns around low levels of labour productivity, but noted that wage growth currently remained consistent with its long term inflation target. A stronger than expected jobs market report for June led to expectations of further rate hikes by markets and economists alike. However, markets reversed course when the June quarter consumer inflation figures came in below consensus.

 Finally, the European Central Bank (ECB) raised rates in July to 3.75%, in line with its guidance. Weak economic activity throughout key parts of Europe saw markets increase bets that the ECB would pause in September. Meanwhile, UK wage data remained strong and further interest rate hikes by the Bank of England were priced in by money markets. The peak is now expected to reach 6% in 2023.


How can we help

We hope you find the information useful, and if you want to discuss any details further or discuss your personal investment strategy, then please book a chat here.


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June 2023 Economic & market review – Mixed Results for Investors as AI Boom Drives Equity Returns and Bonds Falter

Talking points

  1. Mixed results for investors in June: Bond markets lost ground due to underlying inflation, while the AI boom drove returns in equity markets.
  2. Strong performance of US stocks: For the quarter, the benchmark S&P 500 added 8.3%, the Dow Jones rose 3.4%.
  3. Notable performance of tech stocks: The Nasdaq jumped 12.8% for the half, registering its strongest first-half performance in forty years. Apple surged 50% and surpassed $3 trillion in market cap, while Meta (Facebook) and Tesla more than doubled. 
  4. The Fed hits the pause button: Improving inflation data allowed the Federal Reserve (the Fed) to finally hit the pause button on official interest rates at the June FOMC meeting. This was the first such move in fifteen months.
  5. Cash returns and interest rates: Australian cash returns continued to grind higher as the Reserve Bank raised the cash rate to 4.1% in June, with economists forecasting a peak rate of 4.6%.



Investors experienced mixed results in June as bond markets lost ground on sticky underlying inflation while the AI boom continued to drive returns across equity markets. For the quarter, the benchmark US S&P 500 added 8.3%, while the Dow Jones rose 3.4%. The Nasdaq jumped 12.8% to register its strongest first-half performance in forty years, soaring more than 30%. Notably, Apple leapt 50% in the first half and surpassed $3 trillion in market cap, while Meta (i.e., Facebook) and Tesla both more than doubled.

Closer to home, the S&P/ASX 200 returned 1.8% inclusive of dividends, easily outperforming its domestic small-cap peers. While global property and infrastructure stocks produced a solid monthly gain, the same could not be said for A-REITs as valuation concerns continued to permeate the sector. Over the quarter, domestic shares underperformed global peers on banking and resource sector weakness. Nearly two-thirds of the quarterly 1% total return came from dividends. For the financial year, domestic shares delivered a 14.8% return to investors, including income of 5.1% (plus ~1.5% in franking credits).

Cash returns continued to grind higher as the Reserve Bank raised the cash rate in June to 4.1%. This prompted economists to raise their forecasts for the peak rate to 4.6%, with money markets behaving in a similar fashion. Meanwhile, surging tax receipts have swollen the Federal Government’s budget surplus to $19 billion and boosted the prospect of a second straight surplus being delivered next year.



Market Commentary

Global shares enjoyed a solid first half to 2023, with the MSCI AC World ex-Aus index delivering over 16% to Australian investors, led primarily by gains in the US and Japan. Most notable was the AI-led rally in a handful of tech names. The so-called “Magnificent Seven” mega-tech stocks staged a strong reversal of the weakness experienced at the end of 2022, in which the Nasdaq lost a third of its value, with the focus on cost-cutting and efficiency. Chipmaker Nvidia led the way, riding the AI boom to a 190% rally and a $1 trillion market cap. Not since 1983 have tech stocks performed so strongly in an opening half to a year. For context, Apple was then touting its Lisa desktop computer, IBM was the most valuable tech company in the US, and Microsoft had yet to list on the sharemarket.

In local markets, the ASX 200 began the year 4.5% higher, with nearly half of that return coming as dividends. Banks and materials stocks comprise about half of the ASX 200 and traded sideways in 2023. For the banks, investors feared that steepling interest rates would sharply increase debt provisioning. At the same time, the resource-heavy materials sector stalled on a failure for China’s recovery to gain more substantial traction. The latter also led to more muted returns in emerging markets. This year, the tech and gold sectors have been the clear standouts, delivering double-digit returns.

In the more defensive asset classes, 2023 has seen cash outperform the domestic bond sector due to sticky underlying inflation. However, traditional fixed interest has had a solid year overall and has recouped some of its steep losses from the previous calendar year. Elsewhere Bitcoin had an astonishing start to 2023, gaining more than 80% in USD terms. The rebound in the Nasdaq and the regional banking crisis saw risk-loving investors re-enter the crypto space after a shocking 2022.



Economic Commentary

Improving inflation data allowed the Federal Reserve (the Fed) to finally hit the pause button on official interest rates at the June FOMC meeting. This was the first such move in fifteen months. Fed officials, on average, now expect two more rate rises in 2023 and upgraded their estimates for the economy’s growth prospects. Official data later in the month revealed large upward revisions for first quarter GDP on stronger household spending. Meanwhile, Fed chairman Jerome Powell reiterated that interest rates will need to move higher to contain price pressures over the medium term.

On the domestic front, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) raised the official cash rate by 25 basis points in June for the second consecutive month, having paused in April. The RBA remains concerned about the negative impact of high inflation on the economy, family budgets and savings, as well as business planning and investment. Poor labour productivity was again highlighted by the RBA, with strong rises in labour costs per-unit-of-output an ongoing risk to the inflation outlook. Elsewhere, March quarter GDP slowed significantly and missed expectations. GDP also contracted on a per capita basis due to Australia’s surging population. Both discretionary consumption spending and household savings also contracted due to the impact of rising debt repayments on disposable income.

In Europe, Germany moved into recession as its industrial sector contracted and, notably, its lower import spending flowed through to weaker exports from China, where the reopening continues to miss expectations. China remains one of the few large economies where inflation is close to zero.

Our experienced financial planners provide tailored strategies and guidance to suit your unique needs and financial goals. If you’re seeking expert investment advice and managementbook a chat with a Pekada financial planner today.


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Economic update – The coming peak in interest rates may be masking vulnerabilities

Talking points:

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has increased interest rates substantially over the past twelve months and is within sight of the finishing line.
  • Australia’s labour market has been strong, which has prevented a slump in spending.
  • Inflation remains sticky due to rising prices in the services sector. Hence, official interest rates are unlikely to decline this year without a recession or a destabilising event.
  • A few big tech names have driven US sharemarket performance, with gains across the ASX also narrowly based.
  • The US debt ceiling looks to be resolved, but economic and market risks are mounting.


As we near the end of the financial year, share markets have shown considerable resilience in 2023. Despite numerous calls in the financial media of an impending recession and a housing market crash, there have been very few signs since Christmas. Ongoing supply constraints and record levels of net migration have combined to propel housing prices modestly higher in the first half of this year. In addition, a tight labour market has seen workers maintain high levels of job security, largely offsetting the impact of higher interest rates on consumer confidence.

However, the elephant in the room is persistently high inflation. The monthly CPI accelerated in April, driven by rising rents, a lift in holiday travel costs and higher transport prices, following the unwinding of the temporary cut in the fuel excise last year. The good news is that inflation is well below the peak in December, and the annualised increase over the previous few months is within arm’s length of the top of the RBA’s target band.

If wage growth remains moderate, or there is an improvement in productivity, then the RBA cash rate is unlikely to rise to the levels seen in places like NZ, the US and the UK. Domestic interest rate expectations have recently increased, but the peak should remain below 4.5%. While the lagged effects of sharply higher interest rates place Australia at greater risk of entering a recession in 2024, investors are currently taking their lead from US markets.

The strength of the US economy in 2023 has surprised most analysts, culminating in a shallower decline in company earnings. Outside of the banking crisis in March, shares have moved higher, with returns dominated by large-cap tech stocks. However, the consensus across markets and economists is that the US will experience some kind of recession later this year.

After much back and forth, the Democrats and Republicans agreed to suspend the debt ceiling until after the 2024 presidential election, thereby avoiding a catastrophic default. While this is welcomed news, the deal’s timing may prove to be a curse in disguise. It will allow the US Treasury to issue new debt and spending programs to continue. But, perversely, new bond issues will soak up a key component of market liquidity simultaneously as the US Federal Reserve shrinks its balance sheet, leading to much tighter financial conditions and higher volatility.

Meanwhile, personal savings have moved lower just as credit conditions are squeezed. If the banking crisis again rears its head over the coming quarters, it could lead to a credit crunch and bring about the economic hard landing markets are not currently positioned for. And given the narrow base of share market gains in 2023, investors appear increasingly vulnerable to a sharp sell-off and would be wise to stay vigilant.

Our experienced financial planners provide tailored strategies and guidance to suit your unique needs and financial goals. If you’re seeking expert financial advice, book a chat with a Pekada financial planner today.


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2023-24 Federal Budget summary

In what is always an exciting night to settle down in front of the TV, Treasurer Jim Chalmers handed down the 2023-24 Federal Budget and we have summarised what we feel are the key measures announced from a financial planning point of view.

For our ongoing service package clients, your adviser will be in contact to provide guidance on changes which may impact your strategy.


Cost of living measures

Relief on power bills

The government has put forward a comprehensive $14.6 billion relief package to ease the cost of living. This includes $3 billion to help with the cost of energy, which will be provided in the form of credits of up to $500 and offered to approximately 5 million eligible households and targeted to pensioners, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders, and family tax benefit recipients.



Super changes

Minimum pension payments set to revert

The minimum amount that was required to be paid to a member from their pension was halved in 2019-20. This was legislated to revert to the full amount from 1 July 2023. There was no announcement of an extension to the reduced minimum in the Budget, so the amount is likely to revert to 100 per cent of the standard minimum from 1 July 2023 unless an extension is announced. This means the payments you receive from your pension may need to increase from 1 July this year.


Increase to Transfer Balance Cap

In February 2023, it was announced the Transfer Balance Cap would increase by $200,000 to $1.9 million on 1 July this year due to indexation. This is the amount you can transfer from super to start a tax-free super pension, such as an account-based pension. Although there has been some speculation as to whether this would remain at its current level, the fact that it wasn’t announced in the Budget suggests it will increase as expected.


Pay day super

From 1 July 2026, employers will be required to pay super at the same time they pay salary and wages. Many employers have already adopted this approach even though, currently, super is only required to be paid quarterly.

Additional funding will also be provided to the ATO in 2023-24 to improve its ability to identify and act on any cases of Super Guarantee underpayment by employers.


$3 million super cap

 As recently proposed, the government reinforced its plan to increase the tax on earnings on super balances over $3 million by 15%. The tax would only be payable on earnings over this threshold.  

The additional 15% will apply regardless of whether they are in the accumulation phase of super or have retired and commenced a super pension.




Personal taxation

‘Stage 3’ tax cuts

There were no new announcements regarding stage 3 tax cuts which remain legislated to take effect 1 July 2024.

As a reminder, the stage 3 tax cuts will change the income tax rates and thresholds (for resident taxpayers) as follows:


Medicare levy low-income thresholds

The Medicare levy low-income thresholds for singles, families and seniors and pensioners
will be increased from 1 July 2022.

  • The threshold for singles will be increased from $23,365 to $24,276.
  • The family threshold will be increased from $39,402 to $40,939.
  • For single seniors and pensioners, the threshold will be increased from $36,925 to
  • The family threshold for seniors and pensioners will be increased from $51,401 to
  • For each dependent child or student, the family income thresholds will increase by a
    further $3,760 instead of the previous amount of $3,619.



How can we help?

If you have any questions or would like further clarification in regards to any of the above measures outlined in the 2023-24 Federal Budget, please feel free to book a chat with your adviser.


Until next time.




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