Calling Each Other’s Bluff

Well, it’s the last day of the financial year. The heavy fall in the market over the past week or so will shave a few hundred billion off the nations’ superannuation balances.

For the 12 months to 30 June, the ASX 200 is pretty much flat, depending on where it finishes up today. The future indicates a 34 point loss at the open but given the uncertainty, the market could finish anywhere. That is, down a lot more — or even up on the day.

Of course there are dividends to take into account. If you owned the banks for example, you’re sitting on a decent dividend and maybe a small amount of capital growth. But overall it’s been an uninspiring year.

That’s what happens when you mix the wheat with the chaff. The underperformers combine with the outperformers to provide an average return. The trick, of course, is to separate the investment wheat from the chaff.

There are always instances of one or two disasters ruining the performance of a portfolio. You’ve probably experienced the same thing.

You can read about a strategy that overcomes this problem below. Jason McIntosh, designer of the algorithmic trading system Quant Trader, calls it ‘elegant simplicity’. It’s fascinating stuff so I urge you to read on below.

And being the last day of the financial year, it’s your last chance to secure a big discount on a subscription to Quant Trader AND claim a decent tax deduction. Check it out here.

Moving back to the overnight action, and Europe was hit hard. Here’s how the major European exchanges fared:

Germany: -3.56%
France: -3.74%
Spain: -4.56%
Italy: -5.17%
Portugal: -4.76%

In short, it was pretty ugly. But not surprising considering the market was happy to ignore the building tensions between Greece and its creditors for weeks. The market simply assumed both sides would blink before the situation turned critical.

The other important focus point overnight was the bond yields of the other highly indebted Euro nations. Let’s have a look:

  • Portugal saw its 10-year bond yields rise 34 basis points to 3.02%.
  • Italian and Spanish 10-year bond yields both jumped 24 basis points to 2.38% and 2.34% respectively.


That’s hardly a disaster for any of these countries, but keep an eye on the trend. If they keep rising, it will become a headache for Europe and the euro.

Much of what happens next will depend on the outcome of Sunday’s referendum. I don’t think Greece’s creditors saw this coming. They probably expected Greece to fall into line just prior to the repayment deadline to the IMF, which expires tonight/tomorrow our time.

Instead, Greece upped the stakes big time and called its creditors’ bluff. From Bloomberg:

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said European leaders don’t have the nerve to throw his country out of the euro, striking a defiant tone just hours after imposing capital controls on a country in economic freefall.

As Greeks come to terms with a new reality that’s trapped their money inside the country’s banks, 12,000 people gathered in the central Syntagma Square with banners that read “Our lives do not belong to the creditors.” Tsipras, who passed by them en route to a televised interview, said the cost to the 19-nation bloc of Greece leaving would be “enormous.”

The creditors are obviously outraged. The elites of Europe are not used to small nations standing up to them and daring to jeopardise their euro project.

But despite appearances, Greece has a strong hand. The cost of Greece leaving the Eurozone would be enormous. Greece has around €320 billion in total government debt, held mostly by the European Central Bank and the IMF. If Greece leaves the Eurozone that is quite a hole to fill.

If Greece votes no in Sunday’s referendum, then they will be in a much stronger position to negotiate a better outcome for staying in the Eurozone, which is clearly the better deal for everyone.

But with Tsipras saying that Europe doesn’t have the nerve to throw Greece out, he risks turning this from a rational to an emotional negotiation. Because if Europe then turns around and calls Greece’s bluff, throwing them out of the Eurozone, it’s likely we’ll get a lot more turmoil and volatility in the months ahead. It will be a matter of time before the market then moves on to Portugal, Italy and Spain.

It’s impossible at this stage to work out how it will end. I know there’s a lot of talk about a ‘Grexit’ now looking likely but it’s too early to come to such a conclusion. This still has a long way to go.

Greece’s moves over the past few days are a high stakes ploy to wrest negotiating power off the creditors, not necessarily an admission that they will leave the Eurozone.

So expect to more volatility in the days to come. But the real fireworks will start next week when we know the outcome of the Greek referendum.


Greg Canavan+,
For Markets and Money, Australia

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Greg Canavan is a Contributing Editor at Markets & Money and Head of Research at Port Phillip Publishing. He advocates a counter-intuitive investment philosophy based on the old adage that ‘ignorance is bliss’. Greg says that investing in the ‘Information Age’ means you now have all the information you need. But is it really useful? Much of it is noise, and serves to confuse rather than inform investors. And, through the process of confirmation bias, you tend to sift the information that you agree with. As a result, you reinforce your biases. This gives you the impression that you know what is going on. But really, you don’t know. No one does. The world is far too complex to understand. When you accept this, your newfound ignorance becomes a formidable investment weapon. That’s because you’re not a slave to your emotions and biases. Greg puts this philosophy into action as the Editor of Crisis & Opportunity. He sees opportunities in crises. To find the opportunities, he uses a process called the ‘Fusion Method’, which combines charting analysis with more conventional valuation analysis. Charting is important because it contains no opinions or emotions. Combine that with traditional stock analysis, and you have a robust stock selection strategy. With Greg’s help, you can implement a long-term wealth-building strategy into your financial planning, be better prepared for the financial challenges ahead, and stop making the same mistakes that most private investors do every time they buy a stock. To find out more about Greg’s investing style and his financial worldview, take out a free subscription to Markets & Money here. And to discover more about Greg’s ‘ignorance is bliss’ investment strategy and the Fusion Method of investing, take out a 30-day trial to his value investing service Crisis & Opportunity here. Official websites and financial e-letters Greg writes for:

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