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Look­ing ahead

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.

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