One of the first real mentions of global debt came from the Middle-East, when Dubai Ports World deferred $60 billion in debt.
Europe was already seeing mild debt issues, but that was exacerbated when Greece fell into sovereign debt problems, which quickly rolled on to what we now call the PIIGS nations, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.
Debt alone was enough to cause concern for our sharemarket, but then came the federal government’s proposed Resources Super Profits Tax which had a negative impact on shares, in particular resource stocks.
All in all though, the past 12 months saw a near 9 per cent rise in our major benchmark.
Of the top five stocks on the S&P/ASX200, four of them were mining related. The best performer was gold producer Perseus Mining, up a staggering 215 per cent. The company did well out of the record gold price as demand increased for the precious metal, as investors turned to safe havens as confidence in the market waned.
Interestingly, online travel booker Flight Centre also made it into the top five, lifting 92 per cent. It issued numerous profit upgrades as its business boomed, thanks to a rise in Australian travellers using its services. This was down to drastically cheaper international air fares, and a higher Australian dollar making overseas trips more affordable.
It was that higher Australian dollar that proved to be a major headache for agribusiness Elders. The currency, along with debt problems, and the drought, saw shares in the company plunge 86 per cent.
Top 10 on S&P/ASX200 for 09/10 year
Bottom 10 on S&P/ASX200 for 09/10 year
Prime Infrastructure Group
Energy Resources of Australia
Energy World Corp
Source: Bell Direct
Our major blue chip stocks shone. The big four banks finished in positive territory; BHP rose eight per cent and Rio Tinto added close to 30 per cent as Chinese demand for their iron ore pushed up the price for the metal.
While there’s some clarity now on the future of Telstra and its involvement with the National Broadband Network, the initial uncertainty saw shares fall 4 per cent on the past year.
Blue chip stocks form a big part of superannuation funds, and research company Chant West expects the median growth super fund to record a 10 per cent increase in balances for the past 52 weeks.
As for the future of the sharemarket, there’s mixed feelings. In a recent SBS World News Australia story, Daniel Moore from Wilson HTM said he expects the market to pick up about 20 per cent this financial year with resource stocks to drive the market, especially iron ore.
Julia Lee from Bell Direct is a bit more bearish though, pointing to softening manufacturing numbers from China on Thursday, along with renewed fears of a double-dip recession in the United States, led by a downturn in the housing sector there.