Andrew Brown

US equity market returns have outstripped other developed markets by around 7.5%pa over the past eight years, reflecting more rapid growth in earnings than other equity markets and the emergence of ultra-large capitalisation technology companies. There are two clear sectoral winners from these conditions: the exchanges themselves and “ancillary” services.... Show More

One obvious thing you miss, which partly invalidates much of what you discuss. Interest rates have changed dramatically over the period examined. Rates as low as these were never envisaged by any component of the tax system. As a consequence, the desperate search for yield in tandem with the cash refund system has wreaked massive distortions on our capital markets, and weakened our long term growth prospects. The past and current strategies of the four major banks show this clearly, as does the preponderance of REITs and other rent seeking type vehicles listed on ASX. When economies approach extremes, which distort tax collections, you do something about it. The growth in cash refunds to the $5bn pa level is clearly a function of this yield chase and must be addressed. You are correct in that the 1999 amendments to facilitate cash refunds should never have been passed, or should have been repealed much earlier. They are clearly idiotic in that Treasury would reap no net revenue from a profitable company wholly owned by non-pension individuals. They benefit higher earners (shown in your chart and many others) and discriminate against folks with less/no shares serving to increase inequality in our economy. What has really annoyed me in this debate has been the sheer greed of people with multi-million dollar portfolios who figure this is going to send them to the poor house. They don't realise that by continuing this system of inequality, the impact on the overall economy and social life will be much greater. They also seem to regard superannuation as inheritance material, when the (unachievable) ideal is that the balance runs down to zero on the death of the last pensioner. Other assets comprise inheritance. Maybe we should have an inheritance tax like many other countries if the proposed franking changes are so bad? I totally accept your comments regarding long term planning and less changes, but drawing broad brushes between environments with cash rates of ~10% and ones at 1.5% (and falling) isn't appropriate. And the GST comment is particularly mischievous and unnecessary.

On Frankly annoying -

Good thoughts Chad except there is far more to the Blue Sky obfuscation than some questionable asset values and a clear interlink with opaque fum/aum and non granularity of management fees. A further obvious point is that the level of analysis of a $1bn+ company by the local market was appalling. Only short sellers (domestic or offshore) seemed to understand how the company was operating. There is a good analogy with B&B - rather less so with Herbalife which as you know mints cash flow and has been a capital management machine.

On Some Thoughts on the Blue Sky Affair from a manager who shorts -

In the midst of the usual excellent piece from Marks, there are two screaming factual inaccuracies which are worrisome to see from such a fastidious thinker - both in the bitcoin section. "Bitcoin can’t be debased by unlimited issuance, since the blockchain process has been set to permit only a gradual increase from today’s 16 million, to 21 million in 2140.". WRONG. Bitcoin has just been "debased" by a hard fork creating 21m new Bitcoin cash (worth ~$10bn) - nothing to stop another and another. "Since the blockchain exists on each person’s individual computer, rather than in a central location, it can’t be hacked, and thus Bitcoin can’t be stolen...". WRONG Howard has obviously been living under a rock. Mt. Gox, Bitfinex, Bitstamp (twice)..etc plus the DPRK is now allegedly going all out to hack given two of the bigger markets are Japan and South Korea (the latter more for ETH). Interesting his comments came out days before the Chinese Government decided they'd had enough of this "dark alley" trading and have effectively shut it all down. I believe BTC has some intrinsic value but that it's not even close to prevailing prices and that it has too many hallmarks of a fraud. Disc: I am short.

On Marks: 'I was wrong about Bitcoin' -

SNAP trades at more than double the EV/MAU than TWTR, (way more depending on how you treat the TWTR convertible bonds). It is attracting more competition and currently has a lower rev/MAU than TWTR. I have closed my SNAP short after the washout but would be looking to go again, but avowedly long TWTR where costs are starting to be brought under one semblance of control and the thing might make real profit as opposed to cash generation based on SBP reliance.

On We need to talk about Snapchat -

Comparing equity returns from 2007 onwards....a bit like 1974 onwards in reverse methinks.

On Going Super Mental -

Healthscope - high quality - delivering year after year for several years...really? All the delivery was the rerating and profit to PE on the sale! Sorry guys, not a real value add video IMHO

On Hyperion: There’s a real opportunity at the moment -

Well Anthony I think the impact on Cabcharge of a variety of negatives may well be baked in already and I would be so quick to diss it. I've driven Uber to see how it works properly from both perspectives (driver/rider) and its fabulous in many amazing ways - young Mum ubering so they can pick up their kids at an appropriate time and still pick up $$ is just one example. However, CAB now trades at sub 2x trailing EV/EBITDA for cab business, pulling out buses, and other investments at a lower value than presented in their balance sheet, and attributing NO value to the taxi plates, which will have some if Uber is legalised in NSW. (how much is a ? given nearly 6k plates which "trade" at $375k each) Would remind you that if you could get over the ethics issue, tobacco stocks have been fantastic investments. CAB is a real cigar-butt stock but the NSW Taxi Council are effectively negotiating its value by working with NSW Government.

On The Uber effect -