Share Market resets back to level of two years ago

It’s the 5th Dec 2018. Ten years since the GFC. Today our market opened at a 22 month low.

Pre-GFC Update.jpg

As the Australian stock market struggles to get back to its pre-GFC level of 2007 it has stumbled and fallen by another 1.6 percent today putting back to levels of two year ago.

October and November have been painful months for the Australian market and for anyone with superannuation—which is probably everybody who is working considering superannuation is compulsory.

The Australian ‘All Ordinaries’ index started the year on 6,166 points and at that time there were many market experts predicting that the index would finally and easily break through the GFC barrier of 6,800 points by the end of the year; thereby finally getting the market back to its 2008 levels.

Well, those experts will be feeling a bit silly now. Market trends suggest the index will be lucky to finish the year anywhere near the 6,166 points it started the year at and the chances of it getting close the pre-GFC mark of 6,800 would be assessed as impossible.

Given that 2018 was predicted to be a ‘good’ year for the markets, what can we expect for 2019?

We won’t get the official New Year market predictions from the experts until about mid-January, but the early indications are for a ‘flat’ year in 2019. This is partly due to a combination of falling commodity prices, low and falling consumer sentiment, banks tightening up on loans for property and vehicles (as an outcome of the Royal Commission into banking), falling property prices, and the massive relative debt burdens that households have accumulated over the last five years.

Oh! And add to that the ‘average’ $400k superannuation fund has taken a $28k hit in 2018—which is likely to be factored into spending by anyone getting close to retirement.

On top of this, relative to inflation, wages have gone backwards for all but the top five percent of the workforce. For most of us in the remaining 95 percent of the workforce our purchasing power has reduced over the last five years due to very low wages growth. While the cost of living has increased by a shade under 11 percent in the last five years, very few wage earners would have experienced an increase in income much over six percent during that time. Thereby leaving a five (5) percent negative gap in purchasing power.

During the last five years I was ‘converted’ from contractor to staff. As an outcome of that my gross has reduced by a whopping 25.7 percent over the last five years.

Upgraded to a DELL Inspiron 13 7000 8th Gen i7

For the last four or so years my main computer has been a Microsoft Surface Pro 2. The Surface Pro 2 has a 4th generation 2xCore i7 1.7GHz with 8GB of RAM.

It has been a great PC and I have done a lot of photo processing on it.

But, as I am getting close to retirement, I decided to upgrade. After a lot of ‘research’ I landed on a DELL Inspiron 13 7000 8th generation 4xCore i7 1.8GHz with 16GB of DDR4 RAM.

Now I realise that the DELL Inspiron i7 has a relatively short battery life for a modern ultra-light 2-in-1 laptop. It is only good for about six hours on battery—depending what you are using it for. But, when it comes to being docked, the performance-for-dollar ratio for the Inspiron is the best. And, as I do almost all of my hard work—such as photo editing—when docked, then the battery life was not that big a consideration.

Another very important consideration for me was that it could be docked and that the dock would support at least one 2560x1440 resolution monitor, and in the future when 4K colour-correct 10-bit monitors get into my price range, then I want it to also support 4K.

I have been using the Inspiron now for about two weeks now. I am very happy with it. The performance improvement for editing images using Lightroom, Photoshop, Skylum Luminar, and Skylum Aurora 2018 is excellent. It is at least twice as fast as the ‘old’ Surface Pro in all the tests I have done.

As a few example, opening a RAW from my Sony a7r III in Photoshop used to take 17.8 secs on the Surface but the Inspiron does it opens in 9.5. Doing a HDR merge into Skylum Aurora from Photoshop used to take 27.8 seconds, and now completes in 12.0 seconds. And the saving the HDR layer back to Photoshop previously consumed over 31 seconds and now completes in just over 14.

I am very happy with the speed improvements. By-and-large everything happens in less than half the time it took the Surface.

2019 Forester due in Australia in September of 2018

It sounds a little odd to say that the new 2019 Forester will arrive at Australian dealers in September of this year (2018). But that is due to the way Subaru name their model releases. The next Forester is the MY19 or 2019 model of the Forester—even though you will be able to buy one in 2018.

What we know for certain now is that the 2019 Forester will only have the one engine. The totally new 2.5 direct injection naturally aspirated petrol boxer motor. No diesel and no hybrid. Not initially anyway. There is some talk of an electric hybrid that might turn up in late 2019. Also, one review suggested Subaru's new 2.4 turbo engine might also find its way into the Forester either late 2019 or early 2020.

For the time being, this new 2.5 petrol engine puts out 182-hp or 135-kw ... if you prefer kilowatts. This is a useful 12-hp, or 7 percent, performance boost compared to the 170-hp obtained from the older 2.5 boxer. While I cannot find any 0 - 100 timings in any of the available reviews, reviewers do comment that this 2.5 Forester is noticeably quicker than the model it is replacing.

This engine is reported to deliver economy of 7.12 litres/100 kilometres on the highway, which is very close to 40 miles per gallon (using Australian gallons).

However, I for one find it sad that the class-topping 2.0 litre dual-scroll turbo 250-hp power plant will not be carried through in the MY19 Forester.

It also seems that there will be no manual transmission model. The only transmission will be an automatic transmission and is Subaru's award winning CVT. One review that I found reports that the CVT being used is the high-torque CVT which was only available previously in the XT model. I hope this is the case as the high-torque version of the Forester CVT is certainly a better transmission than the standard CVT.

The other bit of information I gleaned from hunting around the Web was that three new colours have been made available in the US, and can reasonably be expected to come to Australia as well. These are: Crimson Red Pearl; Horizon Blue Pearl; and Jasper Green Metallic.

As an aside: Apparently this is Forester's 20th year in Australia.

Gen 5 Subaru Forester released

Subaru's new 'from the ground up' Gen 5 Forester initially looks an aweful lot like the model it is replacing.

However, it is 'all new'—being built on Subaru's new global platform.

Gone is the turbo charged 2.0 litre engine. Based the information made available by Subaru at the New York Motor Show, all of new models have the 85 percent new 2.5 litre boxer engine. This updated 2.5 litre engine outputs 182 hp. This revised power plan is supposed to provide an average of 33 mpg US or 39.6 mpg Australian; which converts to about 7.2 litres/100 klms.

The G5 Forester is marginally larger in all dimensions except height. This gives more rear seat leg room, and, combined with the wider rear tailgate door, gives more room in the cargo area.

Due to it being based on the new global platform, Subaru are claiming the the new car exhibits reduced noise, vibration, and harshness.

Subaru seem to have dropped the manual transmission option, with the only transmission now being the revised CVT from the Accent. In the two top models the CVT has a 'manual' option where gears can be changed with column shifter paddles.

Subaru say they have given buyers what they wanted: Better fuel economy, a roomier cabin; and more useful technology.

Personally, I am sad they seem to have dropped the turbo model.

For a lot more information you can click over to the Motor1 site (here).