PDSnet Articles

The Confidential Report – May 2017


Political

The president has delivered a shattering blow to the South African economy, just as the economy was beginning to show definite signs of renewed optimism at the start of 2017. South African consumers may have been frightened into “pulling their heads back into their shells”. When consumers and businesses are scared, they typically stop spending and conserve cash to cope with whatever the new uncertainties may occur. This tends to reduce the sales of white goods and big ticket items like motor vehicles. It results in major investment projects being curtailed or abandoned and it results in consumers “trading down” to cheaper products. Economists and analysts have had to modify their forecasts downwards to reflect the new somber mood.

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Combined Motor Holdings


Combined Motor Holdings (CMH) is one of those companies that is just out of favour with the big institutional fund managers. It is clearly a blue chip share with a long track record of rising earnings, and yet because it is in the motor trade, which has been doing badly in the past year, the share has been bid down to a P:E of 7,5.

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Oil


The oil revolution began with the mass-production of motor cars towards the end of the nineteenth century. Since then the world has been burning oil to meet an almost insatiable demand. Oil has become the most important commodity in the world economy. Almost every product and service incorporates an oil component in its cost structure somewhere – every product has to be delivered – usually by means of an internal combustion engine of some type.

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Are we now in a Bear Trend?


The president has delivered a shattering blow to the South African economy. Just as the economy was beginning to show definite signs of renewed optimism, South African consumers have been frightened into “pulling their heads back into their shells”. When consumers and businesses are scared, they typically stop spending and conserve cash to cope with whatever the new uncertainties may occur. This will reduce the sales of white goods and big ticket items like motor vehicles. It will result in major investment projects being curtailed or abandoned and it will result in consumers “trading down” to cheaper products.

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Political In-Fighting


Normally, in a healthy country, politics is not a major factor in the share market, but in the past year, since “Nenegate”, it has become a dominant factor in South Africa. The battle between President Zuma and his Finance Minister has been directly reflected in the strength of the rand. Zuma’s final decision to oust Gordhan and the subsequent downgrading below investment grade by Standard & Poors has sent the rand tumbling – but perhaps not as badly as might have been expected and certainly not as badly as after Nene was removed.

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