Financial Mail - Investors Monthly - - Contents - RON DERBY fol­low Ron on Twit­ter @ron­derby

The new nor­mal

WHAT A YEAR it is turn­ing out to be. Mar­kets are just as volatile as they have been for the past few and we don’t seem to be get­ting any closer to nor­mal­ity.

Once again, in this is­sue we ex­plore some of the fac­tors that have been af­fect­ing the mar­kets. In his fea­ture, Stephen Gun­nion asks what the prospect of an im­mi­nent hike in US in­ter­est rates means. Af­ter years of ul­tra-loose mon­e­tary pol­icy, could this be the cat­a­lyst that ends the bull mar­ket?

Not all shares are trad­ing on a steroid high. Marc Hasenfuss spots the value in one of th­ese lesser lights on the JSE.

One feels that un­til there’s a nor­mal mon­e­tary pol­icy en­vi­ron­ment, volatil­ity will con­tinue to dom­i­nate all things re­lated to in­vest­ment.

The big four banks — Stan­dard Bank, First-Rand, Ned­bank and Bar­clays Africa Group — have all re­leased their num­bers in the first quar­ter of this year, and we take a closer look at the blue bank and its jour­ney to­wards re­claim­ing its sta­tus as the pre­mier South African and African bank. Gil­lian Jones writes this month’s cover story on the bank and tracks how far it has come in re­fo­cus­ing its en­er­gies on its do­mes­tic mar­ket and the African con­ti­nent af­ter un­prof­itable ad­ven­tures into coun­tries such as Rus­sia.

Her piece co­in­cides with this week’s Fi­nan­cial Mail cover story on Bar­clays Africa, whose CEO, Maria Ramos, is more bullish on that bank’s prospects in both SA and the 13 other African coun­tries where it op­er­ates.

Andile Makholwa had an in­ter­est­ing in­ter­view with Clover’s CEO on the fu­ture of the milk pro­ducer as it looks to fur­ther di­ver­sify its port­fo­lio of prod­ucts and ex­pand in Africa. Listed since 2010, the com­pany’s shares have gained just un­der 90%.

We have an African fo­cus in this month’s mag­a­zine, which I hope will be­come a regular fea­ture. We take a look at close neigh­bours Zam­bia and Zim­babwe. The low cop­per price poses some hard ques­tions for the Zam­bian econ­omy in much the same way as it has for Chile’s econ­omy in Latin Amer­ica.

We look at the health of Zim­babwe’s bank­ing sec­tor, es­pe­cially as con­sumers pre­fer keep­ing their sav­ings with for­eign banks rather than lo­cal op­er­a­tions. With the im­mi­nent re­turn of the Zim­babwe dollar, this will be an in­ter­est­ing space to mon­i­tor.

Most of our regular fea­tures re­turn as well as one of my favourite columnists, Thabi Leoka. In place of Nicky Smith’s col­umn this month is a piece by long-time in­vestor Paul Liquor­ish, one of the few re­main­ing gold fol­low­ers. He takes a look at Africa’s big­gest gold miner, An­gloGold Ashanti. The in­tro­duc­tion to the piece says it all…

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