The best calls of 2011

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The ASX 200 has rallied and retreated by more than 100 points 10 times since the birth of the Switzer Super Report almost six months ago – how’s that for a baptism of fire!

Of course, as investors aiming to build enough wealth to carry us comfortably through retirement, we’d all prefer to see a less temperamental market. The volatility has been of great concern to many of you, and as editor of The Report, it’s been fascinating to speak with some of you and hear your stories. This has helped us focus on the topics you would like more of.

For those of you who have been with us from day one, I hope The Report has helped you sleep more soundly at night. I’m pleased to say we’ve made some very strong calls in the past few months – particularly given the flip flopping market.

The calls

Our founding father, Peter Switzer, has been right on the money with his cautious optimism and economic insight. His mantra about DIY super investors buying good companies for the long-term has also helped many to focus on the bigger picture and avoid the daily whiplash of the market.

Back in August, when the daily news was still focused on what was going on in the United States, Peter turned our attention to Europe in Why Europe’s my biggest market concern right now. In that same article, he mentioned that US companies would outperform expectations – another scenario that played out.

And in September in The rally is close at hand, Peter said there was a high chance a relief rally would break the market slump that week. Sure enough, one broke out the next day taking stocks up from a closing low of 3,863.9 on 26 September to end at 4,004.6 the next day.

At the time of writing, the market has managed to steer clear of revisiting these lows, keeping in line with Charlie Aitken’s call on stocks having hit the bottom of the dip. He made the call back on 22 September in Have we hit the bottom? and Bottom fishing: What to buy? Charlie has also been very bullish on Telstra (TLS) from day one, and that company has continued to grow this year, despite the market madness.

On the money

One of our best calls of the year was made by Paul Rickard back in July in Term deposit rates set to drop, when he advised those who were interested in moving money into term deposits to do it right there and then because term-deposit rates would begin to fall within a month. Right on cue, term deposit rates began to fall and economists began to talk about the growing chance the Reserve Bank of Australia would start to cut rates too, which they did in November and December.

Paul, who was the founding CEO and managing director of CommSec, also made a brilliant call when he advised those who were excited about the float of iconic Australian cheese maker Bega, that interest in the company would wane shortly after listing. Since Is Bega Cheese too tasty? was published in July, shares were offered at $2, debuted at $1.90, and have since slipped to about $1.65.

Our art expert, Alistair Bailey, also made some good calls on the recent art auction season when he said in November’s How to invest in artwork that sale prices for a number of works were likely to blow estimates out of the water. And that’s exactly what happened, with Menzies’s auction of a work by artist Tim Storrier selling for $104,950, well above the estimate of $60,000-$80,000, and a work by Ben Quilty selling for $81,000, compared with an estimate of $30,000-$40,000, just to name a few.

We’ve also had some great advice from Ron Bewley, who as many of you would know, has been tutoring us in how to build an SMSF investment portfolio. He’s explanation of how he managed his assets in How to manage pensions during market dips was the perfect demonstration of how to avoid selling stocks at low prices in order to raise cash to meet pension needs.

And I haven’t yet mentioned our technical experts – Tony Negline and Andrew Bloore – who, while they don’t bring you ‘calls’, have done a fantastic job at keeping you up-to-date with all the strategies, regulatory changes and tax rules you need to know to run your SMSF.

I can continue to blab, but you get the picture. It’s been gratifying to bring you such high calibre experts in 2011, and all of them, plus a few new surprises eagerly waiting in the wings, will be back in 2012.

Thank you for your support over the past six months and best wishes for the New Year!

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

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