Australian Stock Investors are Missing Out

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The ASX 200 hit a new six year high today. It’s now up 75% from its 2009 low.

This is great news for the average Australian investor who holds the bulk of their investments in the Australian stock market.

But don’t be too quick to celebrate — in that same time investing in the US market would have returned you 190%.


ASX 200 Vs S&P 500 stock values



click to enlarge

 

Of course, it’s impossible to say before the fact which of the two markets will give you the better return. But wouldn’t it have been nice to have some of your money invested in the US stock market to get a share of those higher gains?

And it’s not just the US. There are tremendous opportunities throughout the world. Consider the longer term opportunities in China, India, and other emerging market economies. Or in Europe, which is now — finally — showing signs of growth.

Yet despite these opportunities, the average self-managed super fund holds 40% of its investments in Australian shares, and only 11% in international shares.

With the Australian stock market representing less than 2% of world markets, there are a world of opportunities you are missing out on. But most Australian investors have been very slow to shake their home bias and invest overseas.

Consider that the amount of savings in the superannuation system is now larger than Australia’s economy. These savings are crowding a relatively small local investment space, so investment opportunities are limited.

I won’t speculate on the future performance of the ASX. No one knows for sure where that’s headed. But investing abroad provides you with important diversification. Opportunities within Australia are especially limited by the type of companies available. The largest five stocks on the ASX 200 Index are the four big banks and BHP. They make up 38% of the Index!

This means that if you hold an ASX Index fund, 38% of your return is dependent on just five companies. By only investing locally you are missing out on exciting opportunities in markets that aren’t well developed in Australia — areas like techno¬logy, pharmaceuticals, engineering, software, aerospace, and the big oil companies.

Movements in the Australian dollar offer opportunities too. While the dollar is down against the US dollar since 2011, at 94 cents, it remains well above its long term average of 75 cents. And it’s high against a number of other currencies too. This can be great news for you. You can buy more shares for each dollar spent and you stand to gain if the Aussie dollar falls.

Record low interest rates are another reason to look abroad. If you try to diversify your investments outside of the ASX, the alternatives such as term deposits and bonds offer very poor returns.

In addition, there are concerns as to whether the Australian economy can successfully transition away from the resources boom that has driven the market. Australia’s strong domestic demand growth appears to be slowing as we follow other developed economies. Some economists are even saying we are due for a recession.

We know it’s smart to spread your investments across different markets, and that there are opportunities elsewhere, so why do we favour Australia to such an extent?

In the past, it was difficult to trade on international stock exchanges. You had to find a broker who could access international exchanges and who would then charge you massive fees. But today, it’s much easier. A number of well-known online brokers allow you to buy and sell shares on international exchanges at reasonable prices.

In addition, there has been a rise in the number of managed funds and exchange traded funds offering a cheap, easy way to invest in a broad range of international markets. Have a look at yesterday’s Daily Reckoning if you’re not familiar with these products.

While Australians continue to hold most of their share investments in local stocks, they are beginning to recognise the opportunities abroad. The RBA found that for the first time in decades, Australians have more invested offshore than ¬foreigners have in the ASX. And during 2013, the amount invested in international share funds grew while the amount invested in Australian share funds fell.

There’s a world of opportunities out there. The Guild’s World Dominators portfolio invests in only the best international opportunities. Quality, industry dominating companies, and listed funds that access opportunities not available here at home.

Regards,

Meagan Evans
Investment Director, Albert Park Investors Guild

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Meagan Evans
Meagan Evans, has seen from the inside of the investment industry how easy money can lead to bad management decisions. She holds a degree in Finance and a Master’s in Business Administration and, as a Certified Financial Technician, Meagan employs both technical and fundamental analysis to make solid investment decisions
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4 Comments on "Australian Stock Investors are Missing Out"

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Jason
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Talk about a ride on the starship ‘Exceptionalism’ for a ride to this wonderful planet where Europe, America, China and the world are doing so great and where growth will continue thanks to a growning supply of oil at $5 per barrel? Or was this article written by a time traveller who went back to 1994? America is a debt-ridden dying old power ruled by a corrupt government that allows money to be printed backed by thin air like a third world shithole. The US stockmarket is artificially inflated by money printed by the Federal Reserve and their free handout… Read more »
bananabender
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I suggest you talk to a petroleum geologist. The world is currently facing a massive oil and gas GLUT. The US will become self-sufficient in oil and a major gas exporter within five years.

Mark Tomarket
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US up 190%, Aussie local shares up 75%. Doesn’t make a great case for future investment offshore. More upside potential in the miracle economy??!

Will
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A dollar made and taken off an unstable, illogical system is the same as a dollar made and taken off a ‘genuine’ economy. Being right does necessarily not equate to being rich, nor the other way round. Something about twisted knickers.

wpDiscuz
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