Top Business Laptops Reviews #sba #business #loan


#best business laptop

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Business Laptop Reviews, Ratings, and Pricing

Looking for a notebook computer for your small office or home office? Computer Shopper’s expert reviews of business laptops will help you find the best model for your needs. Our reviews and laptop ratings walk you through the exact components and features to look for. Computer Shopper’s business laptop buying guides offer side-by-side comparisons of today’s best small-business laptops. Also, check below for lab-tested reviews of our current 10 top business laptops.

HP’s MacBook for Business?

The new EliteBook Folio G1 is as slim and attractive as Apple’s MacBook, but with more ports, a better keyboard, and battery life that’s almost as long.

  • T Is for Tops

    In the T460s, Lenovo has redesigned its venerable ThinkPad T-series and added the latest hardware bits. It’s still one of the best 14-inch business ultrabooks on the market, with the best keyboard in the biz.

    The Face Is Familiar

    What if the XPS 13 had a Core M? Dell’s Latitude 13 7000 (a.k.a. Latitude 7370) is a new spin on a successful, nearly-no-bezel ultralight.

  • Playing the Workstation Card

    A mobile workstation with a family resemblance to the GS72 Stealth gamer, the 17.3-inch MSI WS72 provides ample power for $2,699.

  • New Reviews


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    Business Card Magnets #business #cards #templates


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    Only one promo code can be used per order. Savings will be reflected in your shopping cart. Discounts cannot be applied to shipping and processing, taxes, design services, previous purchases or products on the Vistaprint Promotional Products site, unless otherwise specified. Discount prices on digital products are valid for initial billing cycle only. Additional charges may apply for shipping and processing, and taxes, unless otherwise specified. Free offers only valid on the lowest quantity of each product and not valid on more than 2 items per order.

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    Magnetic Business Cards

    25 starting at $10.00

    Make your business stick with customers.

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    Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs: How to Find Your Business Idea #business #seminars


    #business ideas for women

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    Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs on How to Find Your Business Idea

    Credit: Dragon Images/Shutterstock

    Women may have once been pigeonholed into certain professions, but no longer are they simply expected to do gender-specific jobs. Female professionals are taking control of their careers in a way that works best for them, including when and how they start their own businesses.

    Everyone has to start a business that s meaningful to them; I think it s an old model to tell [women] to go into a specific field, said Carin Rockind. a happiness and life purpose expert. I think that s got us to where we are today. What you re passionate about is way more important. Women need to tap into what they re good at and what makes them feel great.

    American Express OPEN s 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report found that 11.3 million U.S. businesses are currently owned by women, and an average of 1,072 new female-owned companies are being started every day. This number is growing five times faster than the national average for all businesses, meaning more women than ever are taking the leap into entrepreneurship. [See Related Story:Money and Connections Still Hurdles for Women Entrepreneurs]

    As to what kinds of businesses a female entrepreneur should start, businesswomen agree that the sky is the limit.

    I don t think there are any guidelines to the type of companies women should begin, said Cologne Trude, co-founder and creative director of Show Me Your Mumu. a boho-chic clothing line. Women s strengths are so diverse that opportunities are endless.

    I think women should get excited about what excites them, added Melinda Emerson. an author and business coach known as SmallBizLady on Twitter. There aren t [enough] women-centric businesses out there.

    Where to start

    Emerson suggests starting a business you know something about. When you re ready to begin the business you re most passionate about, consider your limitations.

    I have seen people quit really good jobs to start businesses they hate, Emerson said. There are fantasies of grandeur about running a business. It s really hard out there.

    If you have no savings, no money and bad credit, you should not start a business, Emerson said. She suggests saving 20 to 40 percent per paycheck before you quit your job to begin your business.

    Most important, Emerson emphasized the importance of doing your research. Make sure you know who your paying customer is.

    You always have to check and make sure your business model makes sense in an industry that s growing and not sinking, Emerson said. It needs to be relevant three to five years from now. You don t want [technological advances] taking your business.

    As you get your business off the ground, surround yourself with people who will help you succeed, whether it s through support or lending a hand to get the business started, said Cammy Miller, co-founder and creative director of Show Me Your Mumu.

    Being a leader doesn t mean you have all of the answers and the more open you are to learning from everyone around you, the more you can grow in your role, Miller said.

    One of the things that s been harder for me to learn is to bring other people with you, happiness expert Rockind added. It s very lonely to have your own business. There are so many important skills, and you can t be good at everything. ItꞋs OK to ask for help and collaborate with other people.

    Love what you do

    Building a business from the ground up is challenging no matter how you look at it. But, ultimately, you should love what you do.

    I always encourage female entrepreneurs to be strong and work hard at what they love. Starting and running a business is by no means easy, and there are going to be a lot of hardships and emotional setbacks, Trude said. As a female, running Mumu has been very stressful and emotional at times, but every tear has been worth it and I am stronger because of it.

    If Rockind had to go back in time to give herself advice, it would be to just do it.

    You have to put yourself out there, she said. Believe in yourself and your purpose.

    Shannon Gausepohl graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a degree in journalism. She has worked at a newspaper and in the public relations field, and is currently a staff writer at Business News Daily. Shannon is a zealous bookworm, has her blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and loves her Blue Heeler mix, Tucker.

    You May Also like

    Are You Ready to Start a Business? 20 Questions to Ask Yourself

  • 14 Online Business Ideas You Can Start Tomorrow

  • 5 Workplace Confidence Killers and How to Beat Them


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  • How to choose the right business laptop #small #business #lenders


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    Best laptops for business 2016: Best laptops for UK business, choosing from Windows laptops vs Macbooks vs Chromebooks vs tablets

    What is the best laptop for business? We find the best laptops for business 2016. Best laptops from Windows laptops vs Macbooks vs Chromebooks vs tablets. Advice on buying laptops for your business. (See also: 8 best powerful laptops for business .)

    1. Best laptops for business: Budget Windows laptop

    Almost every business will plump for a budget Windows lappy. and almost every business is right to do so. For a little over 200 you can pick up a perfectly serviceable, no frills notebook that will run all Windows software and connect to the web. Basically, it will do what you need it to do, without looking sexy. Potential down sides include weight and heft, life away from the mains. Cheap laptops don’t tend to have great battery life. Also you will need security software, and beware a cheap display that reflects the strip lights of your local Starbucks.

    2. Best laptop for business: Ultrabook

    Like a budget laptop, only better. And more expensive. Ultrabook is an Intel term for a thin-and-light Windows laptop that offers powerful performance and true portability. Other features might include a touchscreen, or tablet functionality. Ultrabooks offer all of the advantages of any Windows laptops, and more. But they are not cheap. In fact, at this price you may as well plump for a Macbook.

    3. Best laptops for business: Macbook

    Macbooks are what Ultrabooks are templated on. Sleek, portable, powerful. expensive. But generally great. There is no nicer laptop to use than a Macbook Pro. No more portable laptop than a Macbook Air. And running OS X means you have less to worry about on the security front. Down sides? Well price is one. Lack of Windows compatibility the other. But if you must have a Windows laptop, and price is not a major consideration, you can always run Windows on your Macbook.

    New MacBooks in 2016: Podcast discussion

    4. Best laptops for business: Chromebook

    The joker in the pack. Chromebooks are laptops that run Google’s Chrome OS. In essence, they use Google Docs, Gmail and other Google tools instead of Windows or Mac software. You can use them when offline, but really they need a regular connection to the web to work. But Chromebooks are super cheap, as well as stylish and powerful. And there are no real security worries. Just don’t use a Chromebook if you need to use Windows, Office or any other Microsoft software. (Or games.) (For more, see: Review: Dell Chromebook 13 .)

    5. Best laptops for business: Linux laptop

    Another option if you can escape the world of Windows or OS X is Linux. A quick Google Shopping search throws up multiple laptops from the likes of Lenovo, HP and Acer that run on a Linux OS. Linux OSes vary, but in general the open source software is similar to Windows in look, feel and functionality. And being open source it can be tweaked to suit your business’ needs. There is no software licence fee, so the same hardware is often cheaper running Linux that it is Windows or OS X. And you don’t have the same security needs as you do in Windows. But compatiblity is an issue, with both software and other devices. Choice is limited. And you will get funny looks off your colleagues.

    6. Best laptops for business: tablet

    Microsoft would have you believe that the Surface Pro is the tablet that can replace your laptop. Apple makes similar claims about the iPad Pro. And there are myriad Windows tablets trying to squeeze in to the space. The truth is that if your major concern is portability, the Surface Pro in particular is a stunning device. Just expect to get what you pay for, and understand that the best laptop for using on your lap will always be. a laptop. (See also: iPad Pro vs Surface Pro for business .)

    Related Articles


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    How to Buy and Invest in Stocks Investing Ideas and Tips #business #licence


    #investment ideas

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    Investing Ideas: How to Buy and Invest in Stocks

    How to Invest in Stocks

    So, you want to invest in stocks? The first rule is to invest in what you know, but it s actually not that simple. It s not enough to simply understand the underlying business you have to understand what makes a good investment, well, a good investment. There exist different schools of thought here, and investing is part art and part science. You can predict and hypothesize as much as you desire, but no one really knows exactly what s going to transpire. Some different styles of investing include:

    Swing Trader

    A swing trading position is held longer than a day trading position, but shorter than a buy and hold investment strategy that can be held for months or years. Typically, a tradable asset would be held for days at a time in order to profit from price changes or ‘swings. Profits can be attained by either buying an asset or by short selling.

    Value Investing

    A value investor believes that the market overreacts to both good and bad news. He/she would look for stocks that they believe the market has undervalued; thereby profiting by buying when the price is deflated.

    Growth Investing

    Growth investors invest in companies that show above-average growth. Growth investing focuses on capital appreciation. Growth investing kind of contrasts with value investing.

    Great chess players don’t sit at a board and just…play.

    Masters of the game have a very concrete plan of how they intend to play. They decision-making that can adapt to whatever their opponents throw at them. Investing is no different: you need a plan to guide your investment decisions!

    Deciding What to Invest In

    You know you are ready and willing to invest. Now it s time to decide in what. Make sure to:

    Research ETFs

    Find the exchange-traded fund which track the performance of the industry and check out their holdings.

    Choose Sectors

    Select your stocks based on specific criteria (sector, industry etc.) Use a screener to further sort companies by dividend yield, market cap and other super useful metrics.

    Stay Informed

    Keep up-to-date. Read stock analysis articles. Read financial news releases. Stay critical.

    Types of Investments


    Bonds

    Bonds, or fixed-income securities, are debt investments in which an investor loans money to an entity, with interest. The borrower borrows the funds for either a fixed or variable period of time.

    Mutual Funds

    Mutual funds are operated by money managers and should match the investor s objective. They are made up of a bunch of funds collected from many investors and the purpose is to invest in securities like stocks, bonds, etc.

    Small-Cap Stocks

    Small-cap investors are the risk takers. These small companies have huge potential for growth. However because they are often under-recognized, more research is necessary. This requires the investor to have more time available to properly crunch numbers.

    Large-Cap Stocks

    Large-cap investors are more conservative these guys like to play it safe. With their steady dividend payouts, these big-cap blue chip companies are as stable as they come

    Penny Stocks

    Penny stocks are super high risk because of their lack of liquidity. Beginners are often lured in to these stocks because of their crazy low share price. This allows investors to hold thousands of shares for a relatively small amount of invested capital. With a scale like that, the gain of just a few cents per share can translate into major returns.

    Finding Good Stocks to Buy

    Within each stock sector, the ultimate goal is to find the stocks that are showing the greatest price appreciation. In the same way that one would pay attention to sectors, multiple timeframes should also be examined to make sure the stock in question is moving well over time. There are two main things to keep an eye on when selecting stocks:


    Liquidity

    It isn t smart to invest in a stock that has very little volume. What if quick liquidation is required? Selling it at a fair price will be extremely difficult if not impossible. Unless you are a seasoned trader, invest in stocks that trade at least a couple hundred thousand shares per day. Save yourself the headache.

    Price

    Trade in stocks that are at least $5. Don t shy away from a stock just because of its high price. Don t buy a stock just because of its low price.

    Investment Ideas

    Want to invest like The Greats? Take a look at the strategies these big guys used to earn their names:

    Warren Buffet

    Warren Buffet is considered a value investor. Essentially, he selects stocks that are priced at a significant discount to what he believes is their intrinsic value. When Buffett buys stocks, he buys them for keeps. This requires a lot of discipline: it s hard to resist buying or selling when the market seems perfectly ripe to act.

    Buffet views the stock market as temperamental. He doesn t panic when stocks plummet, or celebrate when they skyrocket. Instead, the Oracle of Omaha maintains the keep calm and carry on mantra, only buying stocks he intends to hold indefinitely, if not forever.

    Peter Lynch

    Lynch is also a value investor who stresses fundamental analysis. Lynch s bottom-up approach involves focusing on an individual company, rather than the entire industry or the market as a whole. The idea here is that what really matters is the quality and growth potential of a specific company, regardless of whether the industry is under-performing or even in a tailspin.

    Here are 3 additional Lynch stresses when looking at a company from the bottom up:

    Good research pays off

    Shut out market noise

    Invest for the long term

    Philip Fisher

    Philip Fisher was a growth investor. He consistently invested in well-managed, high-quality growth companies. He would hold on to these for the long term. His famous fifteen points to look for in a common stock were divided up into two categories: management’s qualities and the characteristics of the business itself.

    When Fisher found an investment he liked, he wasn t afraid to take an outsized position of the stock within his portfolio. In fact, Fisher sometimes downplayed the value of diversification. He often found himself scouring the tech sector because the pace of c hange there creates an environment that is ripe for disruptive innovations.

    Best Stocks to Buy in 2015

    Here are some best performing stocks of 2015:


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    Business Cards: Design – Print Custom Business Cards #business #grant


    #business cards design

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    Avery WePrint Business Cards

    Ordered business cards. Love Avery design tool. The cards turned out wonderful. I had them print and they look amazing. Price was competitive too. Google Trusted Store Review (June 4, 2016)

    Easy to create business cards that included my own image and text. Quality is nice. Google Trusted Store Review (April 30, 2016)

    I received an email from them with a layout problem. They corrected it, printed it and shipped before I had a chance to respond! The cards were perfect, just how I had hoped they would turn out. Google Trusted Store Review (April 24, 2016)

    The quality of the finished product from Avery WePrint was awesome, the design tool was easy to use and the customer service rep was very helpful with my questions about production/shipping deadlines. Will definitely use again. Google Trusted Store Review (December 14, 2015)

    Business cards looked professional – good quality material and crisp color printing! Google Trusted Store Review (November 8, 2015)

    * Flat rate shipping offer applies to economy shipping only. If another shipping method is selected, charges may apply. Offer applies only to orders shipped to
    the United States and Puerto Rico. Offer subject to change.


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    10 big investment ideas for 2016 #business #plan #software


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    10 big investment ideas for 2016

    • Share on twitter

    It’s time to fire up the interneuronal connections and carve out 10 big ideas for 2016.

    Asian nation

    My first offering is that Australia will likely become an Asian nation in its ethnic orientation. Apologies to the xenophobes, but it’s happening under your nose. An incredible 28 per cent of Australia’s population (or 6.6 million people) were born overseas – the highest in 120 years. During the last census a remarkable 12 per cent of Australians said they had Asian ancestry.

    In Sydney and Melbourne, 19 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively, of residents are Asian. In Sydney regions like Parramatta and Ryde, the Asian share of the population is as high as 34 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively. China and India have overtaken the UK as Australia’s biggest source of new migrants, collectively accounting for 35 per cent of the intake in 2013-14.

    The idea of Australia stealthily yet ineluctably becoming an Asian nation is a big deal: it will reinforce our unique antipodal trading position and powerful role as a politically stable economic conduit between east and west; it will help improve our cultural commonalities with major regional actors like China, India and Indonesia (mitigating geopolitical hazards); and it should serve as a source of innovation, productivity and growth, just as the influx of ambitious European migrants did after World War II.

    Related Quotes

    Bank returns on equity will fall

    Idea number two is that the major banks’ returns on equity (RoEs) are inevitably going to fall from around 15 per cent towards their 11 per cent cost of equity as result of the banking system becoming a highly competitive and level playing field. While this process may take five years or more, it should mean that rather than trading at an unusually high two times book value, the majors will price at circa one times. If I’m right, there is much downside to current valuations, which is a proposition reinforced by analysts’ crazy forecasts that bad and doubtful debt charges will stay around 30-year lows.

    In five years the majors will have ceded the competitive advantages that fuelled their world-beating RoEs. Rather than carrying 25 per cent more leverage than rivals, they will end up having less leverage and more equity capital in the funding mix. Combined with the fact that smaller banks tend not to source as much funding in the dearer wholesale bond markets – underwriting assets with cheaper deposits that are now a government-guaranteed (and more stable) funding source – I believe the majors will wind up having more expensive funding costs. In short, we will migrate to a system where the majors are much safer banks with reduced risks of failure, with the trade-off of lower returns on equity than competitors that have loftier leverage and lower funding costs. There should, therefore, be an economic role reversal between the big four and their rivals.

    Another Macquarie Bank?

    If the majors are going to become slow-moving, yet bullet-proof, utilities, a third idea is investors should look for superior returns from more fleet-footed alternatives that are not saddled with the financial baggage of being too-big-to-fail. One day we will eventually see another Nicholas Moore who creates a new Macquarie Bank with a much skinnier 50 per cent dividend payout ratio (compared to the majors’ 80 per cent pay-out policies) that retains earnings to support investments in innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities. Macquarie has done a fabulous job of continuously reinventing itself to maintain growth and studiously avoided allocating too much capital to competing in the majors’ commodity markets.

    On this note, the majors will likely lose significant market share in home loans to regional banks that for the first time will be able to compete effectively with them on price without crushing their returns. Rather than being price setters, the majors will become price takers and have to give back the recent rate hikes they have foisted on borrowers to compensate for expanding equity funding costs or suffer market share losses. This will compel them back into the less contested business lending space, which will lubricate credit to companies. Indeed, I think the majors’ balance-sheet splits between residential and business loans will revert back to the 40:60 levels before the 1991 recession.

    Our forecasts for double-digit house price growth in 2013 and 2014, and high single-digit growth in 2015, were spot on. My fourth idea is that there will be no imminent housing collapse, and the price of our bricks and mortar will again climb in 2016, albeit at a much slower pace of around 1 to 2 times income growth. I maintain the view that the market is very expensive (15 to 25 per cent above fair value) and recently sold my own home. The interest rate hikes that will be the catalyst for a sustained Aussie housing correction appear to have been shunted into the distant future.

    A fifth idea is that as the US and UK jobless rates (5 and 5.3 per cent respectively) fall towards 3 per cent in 2016 and 2017, wage and consumer price inflation will gradually reanimate. While the Fed will hike in December, central banks will get behind the curve because of their desire to “look through” this reflation.

    Fixed-rate bond prices to plummet

    This prompts another idea, which is that fixed-rate bond prices will melt as long-term yields rise on the back of financial markets resisting the Fed’s dovish view of the world and acknowledging stubbornly strong inflation data. The existential moment for global central banks will arrive when the break-even inflation rates priced by the bond market begin breaching official inflation targets in a sign that investors no longer think that monetary policy (and so-called nominal growth targeting) is compatible with price stability. Asset allocators need to be short interest rate duration or, if you have to be exposed to this risk, hire a smart duration manager – they can be hard to find. Few people can consistently call rate changes right.

    If this base case plays out, my seventh thought is that global equities will face tremendous headwinds as long-term risk-free rates (that is, government bond yields) mean-revert back to some semblance of normality, which means yields 50 per cent to 100 per cent higher than current marks. Recall that the 10-year government bond yield is an essential input as the underpinning for the discount rates in the valuation models for all listed and unlisted equity and real estate markets.

    Sell ‘beta’ buy ‘alpha’

    This insight furnishes an eighth idea, which is sell equity “beta” and buy “alpha”, as I advocated last year. Aussie shares (beta) have declined over the year to date while market-neutral and long-short hedge funds (alpha) have delivered terrific returns (at least the guys that I invest with have). This dynamic is unlikely to change.

    In the more immediate term (over the next, say, one to two years), I like “spread” assets as the search for yield will remain a critical influence over investor behaviour as long as deposits do not offer any material “real” returns above inflation and equities continues to get hammered. One example is major bank subordinated bonds, which currently trade very cheaply on a global basis despite the majors being among the best capitalised banks globally, care of $33 billion of equity origination over the last 12 months. The credit ratings on major banks’ subordinated debt are on par with the senior bonds issued by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley or Citigroup, and I think there is a decent chance they will get upgraded to the “A” band next year if Standard & Poor’s lifts the majors’ stand-alone credit profiles from “a” to “a+”, as it has signalled it may do.

    A final thought is that if the world is once again forced to choose between elevated interest rates and high and volatile inflation, there is a possibility that the value of paper money will atrophy as a credible medium of exchange. This could precipitate a flight to safety in the form of a resurgence in the demand for gold as a hedge against the debasement of money by governments using the printing press to finance their own deficits.


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    Top Business Laptops Reviews #weekend #business #ideas


    #best business laptop

    #

    Business Laptop Reviews, Ratings, and Pricing

    Looking for a notebook computer for your small office or home office? Computer Shopper’s expert reviews of business laptops will help you find the best model for your needs. Our reviews and laptop ratings walk you through the exact components and features to look for. Computer Shopper’s business laptop buying guides offer side-by-side comparisons of today’s best small-business laptops. Also, check below for lab-tested reviews of our current 10 top business laptops.

    HP’s MacBook for Business?

    The new EliteBook Folio G1 is as slim and attractive as Apple’s MacBook, but with more ports, a better keyboard, and battery life that’s almost as long.

  • T Is for Tops

    In the T460s, Lenovo has redesigned its venerable ThinkPad T-series and added the latest hardware bits. It’s still one of the best 14-inch business ultrabooks on the market, with the best keyboard in the biz.

    The Face Is Familiar

    What if the XPS 13 had a Core M? Dell’s Latitude 13 7000 (a.k.a. Latitude 7370) is a new spin on a successful, nearly-no-bezel ultralight.

  • Playing the Workstation Card

    A mobile workstation with a family resemblance to the GS72 Stealth gamer, the 17.3-inch MSI WS72 provides ample power for $2,699.

  • New Reviews


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    Business Cards: Design – Print Custom Business Cards #business #proposal #examples


    #business cards design

    #

    Avery WePrint Business Cards

    Ordered business cards. Love Avery design tool. The cards turned out wonderful. I had them print and they look amazing. Price was competitive too. Google Trusted Store Review (June 4, 2016)

    Easy to create business cards that included my own image and text. Quality is nice. Google Trusted Store Review (April 30, 2016)

    I received an email from them with a layout problem. They corrected it, printed it and shipped before I had a chance to respond! The cards were perfect, just how I had hoped they would turn out. Google Trusted Store Review (April 24, 2016)

    The quality of the finished product from Avery WePrint was awesome, the design tool was easy to use and the customer service rep was very helpful with my questions about production/shipping deadlines. Will definitely use again. Google Trusted Store Review (December 14, 2015)

    Business cards looked professional – good quality material and crisp color printing! Google Trusted Store Review (November 8, 2015)

    * Flat rate shipping offer applies to economy shipping only. If another shipping method is selected, charges may apply. Offer applies only to orders shipped to
    the United States and Puerto Rico. Offer subject to change.


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    10 big investment ideas for 2016 #business #school #rankings


    #investment ideas

    #

    10 big investment ideas for 2016

    • Share on twitter

    It’s time to fire up the interneuronal connections and carve out 10 big ideas for 2016.

    Asian nation

    My first offering is that Australia will likely become an Asian nation in its ethnic orientation. Apologies to the xenophobes, but it’s happening under your nose. An incredible 28 per cent of Australia’s population (or 6.6 million people) were born overseas – the highest in 120 years. During the last census a remarkable 12 per cent of Australians said they had Asian ancestry.

    In Sydney and Melbourne, 19 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively, of residents are Asian. In Sydney regions like Parramatta and Ryde, the Asian share of the population is as high as 34 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively. China and India have overtaken the UK as Australia’s biggest source of new migrants, collectively accounting for 35 per cent of the intake in 2013-14.

    The idea of Australia stealthily yet ineluctably becoming an Asian nation is a big deal: it will reinforce our unique antipodal trading position and powerful role as a politically stable economic conduit between east and west; it will help improve our cultural commonalities with major regional actors like China, India and Indonesia (mitigating geopolitical hazards); and it should serve as a source of innovation, productivity and growth, just as the influx of ambitious European migrants did after World War II.

    Related Quotes

    Bank returns on equity will fall

    Idea number two is that the major banks’ returns on equity (RoEs) are inevitably going to fall from around 15 per cent towards their 11 per cent cost of equity as result of the banking system becoming a highly competitive and level playing field. While this process may take five years or more, it should mean that rather than trading at an unusually high two times book value, the majors will price at circa one times. If I’m right, there is much downside to current valuations, which is a proposition reinforced by analysts’ crazy forecasts that bad and doubtful debt charges will stay around 30-year lows.

    In five years the majors will have ceded the competitive advantages that fuelled their world-beating RoEs. Rather than carrying 25 per cent more leverage than rivals, they will end up having less leverage and more equity capital in the funding mix. Combined with the fact that smaller banks tend not to source as much funding in the dearer wholesale bond markets – underwriting assets with cheaper deposits that are now a government-guaranteed (and more stable) funding source – I believe the majors will wind up having more expensive funding costs. In short, we will migrate to a system where the majors are much safer banks with reduced risks of failure, with the trade-off of lower returns on equity than competitors that have loftier leverage and lower funding costs. There should, therefore, be an economic role reversal between the big four and their rivals.

    Another Macquarie Bank?

    If the majors are going to become slow-moving, yet bullet-proof, utilities, a third idea is investors should look for superior returns from more fleet-footed alternatives that are not saddled with the financial baggage of being too-big-to-fail. One day we will eventually see another Nicholas Moore who creates a new Macquarie Bank with a much skinnier 50 per cent dividend payout ratio (compared to the majors’ 80 per cent pay-out policies) that retains earnings to support investments in innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities. Macquarie has done a fabulous job of continuously reinventing itself to maintain growth and studiously avoided allocating too much capital to competing in the majors’ commodity markets.

    On this note, the majors will likely lose significant market share in home loans to regional banks that for the first time will be able to compete effectively with them on price without crushing their returns. Rather than being price setters, the majors will become price takers and have to give back the recent rate hikes they have foisted on borrowers to compensate for expanding equity funding costs or suffer market share losses. This will compel them back into the less contested business lending space, which will lubricate credit to companies. Indeed, I think the majors’ balance-sheet splits between residential and business loans will revert back to the 40:60 levels before the 1991 recession.

    Our forecasts for double-digit house price growth in 2013 and 2014, and high single-digit growth in 2015, were spot on. My fourth idea is that there will be no imminent housing collapse, and the price of our bricks and mortar will again climb in 2016, albeit at a much slower pace of around 1 to 2 times income growth. I maintain the view that the market is very expensive (15 to 25 per cent above fair value) and recently sold my own home. The interest rate hikes that will be the catalyst for a sustained Aussie housing correction appear to have been shunted into the distant future.

    A fifth idea is that as the US and UK jobless rates (5 and 5.3 per cent respectively) fall towards 3 per cent in 2016 and 2017, wage and consumer price inflation will gradually reanimate. While the Fed will hike in December, central banks will get behind the curve because of their desire to “look through” this reflation.

    Fixed-rate bond prices to plummet

    This prompts another idea, which is that fixed-rate bond prices will melt as long-term yields rise on the back of financial markets resisting the Fed’s dovish view of the world and acknowledging stubbornly strong inflation data. The existential moment for global central banks will arrive when the break-even inflation rates priced by the bond market begin breaching official inflation targets in a sign that investors no longer think that monetary policy (and so-called nominal growth targeting) is compatible with price stability. Asset allocators need to be short interest rate duration or, if you have to be exposed to this risk, hire a smart duration manager – they can be hard to find. Few people can consistently call rate changes right.

    If this base case plays out, my seventh thought is that global equities will face tremendous headwinds as long-term risk-free rates (that is, government bond yields) mean-revert back to some semblance of normality, which means yields 50 per cent to 100 per cent higher than current marks. Recall that the 10-year government bond yield is an essential input as the underpinning for the discount rates in the valuation models for all listed and unlisted equity and real estate markets.

    Sell ‘beta’ buy ‘alpha’

    This insight furnishes an eighth idea, which is sell equity “beta” and buy “alpha”, as I advocated last year. Aussie shares (beta) have declined over the year to date while market-neutral and long-short hedge funds (alpha) have delivered terrific returns (at least the guys that I invest with have). This dynamic is unlikely to change.

    In the more immediate term (over the next, say, one to two years), I like “spread” assets as the search for yield will remain a critical influence over investor behaviour as long as deposits do not offer any material “real” returns above inflation and equities continues to get hammered. One example is major bank subordinated bonds, which currently trade very cheaply on a global basis despite the majors being among the best capitalised banks globally, care of $33 billion of equity origination over the last 12 months. The credit ratings on major banks’ subordinated debt are on par with the senior bonds issued by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley or Citigroup, and I think there is a decent chance they will get upgraded to the “A” band next year if Standard & Poor’s lifts the majors’ stand-alone credit profiles from “a” to “a+”, as it has signalled it may do.

    A final thought is that if the world is once again forced to choose between elevated interest rates and high and volatile inflation, there is a possibility that the value of paper money will atrophy as a credible medium of exchange. This could precipitate a flight to safety in the form of a resurgence in the demand for gold as a hedge against the debasement of money by governments using the printing press to finance their own deficits.


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