Next year will be a difficult one for investors

Investors must be sceptical about the forecasts of several share analysts that at the end of next year the sharemarket will be higher than it is now.
By any standard this year, after a wonderful start, has been disappointing for investors. Despite the higher yields available from quality shares, falling commodity prices, especially for iron ore and oil, have dragged the market down.
Investor confidence is being shaken further by Financial System Inquiry pressure on banks to raise new capital and by proposals to change tax arrangements.
The government confirmed this week the weakening economy would result in higher unemployment and a blowout in the budget deficit. The larger deficit will help cushion the impact on the economy from the sharply lower terms of trade but unless the dollar falls further, national and personal incomes are likely to fall next year.
The official estimate of 3% gross domestic product growth in the 2015 financial year seems optimistic, unless the dollar falls below the Reserve Bank's unofficial target of US75 cents. A key factor will be whether the property sector continues to move ahead, creating employment opportunities.
Even with a lower dollar, the oil and gas sector of the economy will join the minerals companies in trimming spending.
Overall, with the prospect of higher unemployment and higher prices for imported goods, consumers are unlikely to play a leading role in restoring confidence in the economy.
The inevitable conclusion is that next year will be a difficult one for investors, with the continuation of low interest rates and volatile share prices.

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Daryl Dixon

Executive Chairman

Daryl Dixon is one of Australia’s foremost investment experts and a well known writer and consultant. He has provided trusted advice to thousands of personal clients over more than 25 years and is an acknowledged expert in the areas of tax, superannuation (including public sector superannuation), social security and investments.

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