A look at the new financial year for investors

Investors over the past financial year have had to deal with the Brexit fallout, an OPEC production agreement and numerous local and global elections.

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CommSec chief economist Craig James says the most important election was the presidential race in the United States.

“Basically, Donald Trump was elected on the premise that he’ll be cutting taxes and increasing infrastructure spending. We haven’t seen it yet, but the market certainly has rallied on that expectation.”

That indicates President Trump will continue to sway global shares.

Macquarie analyst Martin Lakos says the US president’s policies have given momentum to global share markets, which have outperformed the local index.

“The Aussie market in the last financial year is up about 9 per cent, not bad, but that compares with, say, the US markets are up about 15, and we’ve got the Hong Kong market up 24, the German market up 30 per cent. So, in that context, we’ve underperformed.”

Also important in the new financial year is what the US Federal Reserve will do with interest rates in that country.

Craig James says Australian interest rates look set to stay low, bad news for retirees reliant on fixed-income returns.

“Well, I think we’re going to continue to see an environment of low inflation and low interest rates, so I think there’s still a focus on the dividend payers — the utilities, the property trusts — as well as other sectors across the market such as the banks and telcos.”

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver says he expects the Australian share market to rise in the new year, but modestly.

“So the bottom line is, yes, the Aussie economy keeps growing but it’s relatively constrained growth. And, therefore, profits grow, but at a relatively constrained growth. Share market goes up, but not dramatically.”

Macquarie’s Martin Lakos says the real opportunity for investors is overseas, amid signs global growth is picking up.

“So whether it’s investing directly or investing via Australian companies that have a good proportion of their businesses in overseas markets and economies, we certainly still like that theme.”

AMP’s Shane Oliver says he agrees.

“If you want to see good returns, you’ve probably got to have a decent exposure to global shares, particularly eurozone shares, Japanese shares, emerging market. That’s where I think the growth will be.”

Meanwhile, new superannuation rules will come into effect on Saturday. (July 1)

The before-tax contributions cap will fall to $25,000, regardless of a person’s age.

The after-tax cap declines from $180,000 to $100,000.

And the bring-forward rule, which allows people to combine three years of caps in a single year, will also be reduced, from $540,000 to $300,000.