The world be­yond Ramaphos­apho­ria

Financial Mail - Investors Monthly - - Editor's Note - MARC HASEN­FUSS email Marc on hasen­fussm@times­me­dia.co.za

THERE’S NOTH­ING I EN­JOY MORE than the va­garies of the monthly pub­li­ca­tion. (That’s sar­casm, by the way.) There’s a lot that can hap­pen be­tween writ­ing a story and the day the mag­a­zine is fi­nally in the clutches of read­ers. So far (touch wood) we have not had any ma­jor dis­as­ters, and we do our best to limit “time sen­si­tive” risks to our sto­ries.

But as it hap­pens, I had just sent our Pick of the Month on Ham­mer­son down to the print­ers when big news dropped about a takeover bid that was pitched ear­lier in the month.

IM, which has a fair lag time be­tween writ­ing and ac­tual pro­duc­tion, is vul­ner­a­ble to such de­vel­op­ments. And it costs big bucks to pull back pages and re­print.

But, if any­thing, it shows that our ex­pert prop­erty writer Joan Muller’s in­tu­ition around the value re­sid­ing in Ham­mer­son was spot on. And for that I am grate­ful. I hope read­ers still read the re­port in the con­text of these new de­vel­op­ments.

Mov­ing on, it seems to me that “Ramaphos­apho­ria” burnt off rather quickly, co­in­cid­ing, nat­u­rally, with a cover story I penned for the Fi­nan­cial Mail on which stocks would thrive in the new po­lit­i­cal land­scape. The curve balls are com­ing fast . . . land ex­pro­pri­a­tion jit­ters, an un­ex­pected dig­ging-in around the min­ing char­ter and a last-minute at­tempt to switch off the longde­layed re­new­able en­ergy surge.

In­creas­ingly, I have found my­self drib­bling my div­i­dend flows and spare cash into de­fen­sive coun­ters such as Bri­tish Amer­i­can Tobacco (see Cover Story) and Reinet In­vest­ments. I would have shunned these two coun­ters at the end of 2017 — and read­ers may re­call that I re­cently called a short po­si­tion in Reinet in this very mag­a­zine.

My wife and I had a nasty spat when I tried to con­vince her not to ditch her hold­ing in In­vestec Aus­tralia Prop­erty (IAP) for more shares in fast-grow­ing ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion ven­ture Sta­dio Hold­ings. I sounded, I’m ashamed to say, like a scare­mon­ger in de­fend­ing the IAP po­si­tion.

Per­haps what’s spook­ing me is the un­der­ly­ing “po­lit­i­cal” nar­ra­tive from some quar­ters, which has taken the form of a di­vi­sive (and con­ve­nient?) gen­er­al­i­sa­tion of com­plex eco­nomic is­sues. Emo­tions seem to be run­ning dan­ger­ously high.

Then again, maybe I’m spend­ing way too much time on Twit­ter — or I’m get­ting old and overly fret­ful (as my kids per­sis­tently ar­gue).

Of course, SA tends to pull through its seem­ingly in­sur­mount­able po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic chal­lenges. Just think about what the coun­try has been through in the past 50 years.

Com­mon sense and calm minds usu­ally pre­vail. I hope so . . . I re­ally do.

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