WELCOME to the first edition of Investors Monthly packaged along with the Financial Mail. The magazine will come out on the last Thursday of every month, a day later than it usually appeared in the FM’s sister publication, Business Day.
Business Day readers of the magazine will still be able to find it on the website, www.bdlive.co.za.
We thought long and hard about moving IM away from Business Day, SA’s biggest and most important business daily, wondering whether the Financial Mail, which already has a heavy business leaning, really needed an investment-focused magazine.
But given that the editorial push on FM over the past year has been on strengthening the weekly’s business and markets focus, adding a monthly wrap of investment themes through IM — targeted more at the individual investor and other investment professionals — makes perfect sense.
As this edition is the last for the year, we focus on the outlook for the economy and companies in the new year which, according to the Chinese zodiac, is the year of the goat or sheep. Now I am not a follower of astrology and its mysticism, but the sheep is Yin energy, a symbol of peace, harmonious co-existence and tranquility.
On the geopolitical front, there’s not too many of us who believe this will come to pass, given the tensions in nearly every corner of the planet. But I think we are long overdue some calm on that front.
At least for most of the world’s leading emerging markets, elections have passed by rather smoothly. So politically at least, next year should generate less political noise and more around growth in these countries.
Determining which stocks or sectors to back next year will be a difficult task. These are already at record levels despite a twitchy October where investors weighed the impact of the end of quantitative easing by the US Fed.
Stephen Gunnion and Stafford Thomas have unearthed the gems in what, in SA’s case, will be a period of low growth as commodity prices are expected to continue their downward trajectory and consumers continue to rein in spending as interest rates climb.
I take a look at which retailers will be in a better position to handle the higher rates environment and it all still points to predominantly cash retailers.
Sikonathi Mantshantsha looks at the merger and acquisition activity over the past year and what we can expect next year, while Samuel Mungadze also takes a run through the prospects for SA mobile operators, who are facing revenue pressures from messaging apps such as WhatsApp.