Just how defensive are defensive stocks right now?

Defensive stocks are predominantly found in industries where companies are mainly focused on delivering cheaper products or services that consumers find hard or impossible to manage without. Typical examples of areas where defensive investments can be found include food manufacturers and retailers, medical care and the tobacco and alcohol industries. The fact that delivering these […]


Winners do not always go hand-in-hand

I’m sure that most people are familiar with the saying about something going hand in hand with something else. Let’s use a cycling team in the Tour de France (TdF) as an example. A team consisting of Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish simply wouldn’t make sense, because their goals for this year’s TdF, and their […]


Is now the right time to sell your shares?

We find ourselves in the sixthmonth of 2019, a year that can definitely be described as a rollercoaster year. Just over a month ago investors were all excited to see the FTSE/JSE trading positive by 14.5% for this year (up to 23 April 2019) and there was a general feeling of optimism. Now the market […]


High unemployment figures make for a miserable country

In 1962, well-known American economist, Arthur Orkun, found that a 1% rise in unemployment figures had an approximate 2% adverse effect on the country’s GDP. He developed the Misery Index by adding the US unemployment rate to the inflation rate, the result of which should point out just how miserable the country is. The higher […]


How to avoid investment fraudsters

Nature never ceases to amaze me. A few years ago, during winter, our Border collie passed a little too close to our heater at home, and out of sheer curiosity about this heat-emitting wonder, walked away with a burnt snout. To this day, she avoids the heater by a few meters, even when it’s switched […]


Surprise earnings

I have found that it’s often the events that we look forward to the least, that turn out surprisingly well and that many events that we have looked forward to for a very long time, often tend to disappoint us. At the beginning of 2018, there were great expectations and hopes that our local stock […]


If you can measure it, you can manage it

Without numbers, terms such as “chances are” and “probably” would have no real meaning. Without chances and probability, the only way to approach risk would be through fate and destiny. Without numbers, risk would be based on nothing more than a hunch. We live in a world filled with numbers and calculations, whether its the […]


It will rain again – don’t try to predict, rather prepare

Important financial lessons learnt from the recent drought.   Last summer, Cape Town narrowly avoided a ‘Day Zero’ scenario. Had Day Zero manifested, Cape Town would have faced one of the biggest humanitarian crises in our history. The prospects of taps running dry (together with the measures taken), can teach us a number of important […]


Will the rand treat us to a repeat of its end-of-2017 performance?

They say that a week these days, can be a long time when it comes to our local market. So much can happen in such a short period of time, that just as you think that the “match” is going to end in total defeat, someone scores a six with the last ball of the […]


No Turkish Delight for the South African Rand

If you have a trip scheduled to Turkey, recent developments could mean that you end up paying less than you bargained for. Something like a local beer, according to, would have cost you around R27.20 in Istanbul during December 2017, while the very same beer would have cost you only R17.42 as at 13 […]

Economy Politics

Measuring misery – what the numbers say

It is with shock that we learnt recently that not only is our local labour market still struggling, but that the situation has also worsened, with unemployment figures for the second quarter of 2018 showing an increase to 27.2% from last quarter’s 26.7%. But let’s dig a little deeper to place this in context: Obviously, […]

Economy Financial Planning

How will the national budget affect your personal budget?

In Greek mythology, we are told about the infamous siren. The siren is a creature with the head of a woman and the body of a bird. According to mythology, they lived on an island where they lured passing sailors towards them with their enchanting and irresistible singing voices, causing ships to wreck on the […]


Research reports and standards

I’m lucky enough to truly enjoy my job. The markets have a heartbeat that just gives it a life of its own. No two days are the same in any stock market. This was made very clear recently with industry events and lead stories unfolding in the media. If you had asked me what I […]

Economy Markets & Equities

How to do what the big shots are doing

Some of the most interesting things in my weekly columns aren’t necessarily the data and figures I supply, but rather the little wisdoms that come with them. I recently read through some of my old reports and I found it quite striking how many times I have mentioned my two (then very young) daughters in […]

Economy Financial Planning Markets & Equities

How low volatility can increase your investment risk

As I was writing this, we have been rewriting history books daily in the sense that up to 14 March 2017, it has been the first time since 1995 that the S&P500 Index, on a consecutive trading basis, had not seen a decline of 1% or more. They always say that when the good times […]

Economy Markets & Equities

The golden era for gold investments may be over

Gold has a long and rich history as a quantitative measure of personal wealth. The Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon’s extravagant temple offers only one example of just how far back this practice goes. Then there are also the countless myths and legends, such as El Dorado, that to this day draws explorers […]