Possible surprises for investors in 2015

Credit Suisse researchers have identified a few possible surprises - things that could happen but probably won't - for Aussie investors in 2015.

Part of being an investor is learning to expect the unexpected. Researchers at Credit Suisse have gone a step further and identified a few possible surprises for 2015.

Here's what could, but probably won't, happen this year.

1. AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT EMBRACES DEBT

Hard as it might be to imagine for a government that has made balancing the budget its core focus, Credit Suisse thinks there's a chance, just a chance, that Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey will decide debt isn't such a dirty word after all.

On this view, Australia could decide to take advantage of the cheap money currently available in bond markets and lift spending.

If that were to happen, the investment bank's researchers say Australia's gross government debt, which currently sits around 30 per cent of GDP, the second-lowest in the developed world, could ultimately move to around 50 per cent, putting it around the same level as Switzerland.

2. FOREIGN INVESTORS FALL OUT OF LOVE WITH AUSTRALIAN REAL ESTATE

While Credit Suisse expects demand from Chinese buyers for Australian property will continue to grow, it says it's possible foreign investors will start to lose interest in the local housing market this year.

It says the Chinese government could decide to make it harder for its citizens to get money out of the country, or buyers could simply turn their attention elsewhere.

If that happened, it would likely take some sting out of the housing market, which would be good for home buyers but not great for the economy.

3. SELF-MANAGED SUPER INVESTORS DISCOVER THE WORLD OUTSIDE

Perhaps because of the tax benefits, or perhaps it's a case of investing in what you know, but investors who manage their own super tend to put most of their retirement savings into Australian stocks.

Currently, more than 40 per cent of the money held in self-managed super funds is invested in Australian equities, while just 1.5 per cent is invested in overseas stock markets.

That puts many funds at greater risk should the economy take a turn for the worst and means investors miss out on gains in the US and Europe.

Credit Suisse doesn't expect that to change, but says Australian shares, especially the big four banks and Telstra, would probably suffer if they did.

4. AUSTRALIAN COMPANIES START SPENDING AGAIN

Given the weakness in the economy, Australian companies have been cutting spending and paying out more money in dividends during the past few years.

That's probably a good thing, Credit Suisse says, because companies with high levels of capital expenditure tend to deliver poor returns.

They expect capital expenditure levels to continue to fall, but say it's possible companies could decide to change course and lift spending - which would be create jobs and boost the economy but could be bad news for shareholders.

Source AAP

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