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I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking negativity anymore!

Peter Switzer
22 May 2015

By Peter Switzer

I know this sounds out of character but I’m negative — furiously negative! And it’s because my colleagues in the media have little interest in telling the news junkies out there, which is nearly all of us, about good stuff that’s happening in our economy.

In fact, I’m as mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore!

During the immediate post-GFC period in 2008 to early 2009, I was so cheesed off at the one-sided nature of our media coverage of the stock market and the economy that I started a Good News Daily section on my website and I keep that theme going today in all my articles and updates.

Yesterday I whinged about our major media outlets ignoring the great rebound in consumer confidence after the Budget. It has become clear that the pursuit of scary headlines to attract the attention of editors, readers, viewers and listeners has led most of us to a perverse addiction to bad news.

Now I’m prepared to concede that there are some challenging economic issues out there.  Everything from the Government’s deficit to our debt to the housing bubble to the balance sheet vulnerability of our banks to what might happen to China (and don’t forget Greece) gets the most interest from the media, while better news gets buried — dead and buried!

OK, I get it. I know bad news sells better than good news, except when an Aussie wins a world championship, Cate wins another Oscar or the Royal Family adds to their lineage. If we get some news that says our economy is on the mend, jobs are coming for our jobless, profits are on the rise for our small businesses, etc., these stories almost never gain top billing. And they’re often ignored.

Of course, they do get a good run with me and that’s my point of difference and I’ll stick to this until I see a significant turnaround in the run of data. At the moment, things are looking increasingly better and I hope next week capital expenditure numbers add to my positivity, though I suspect these will need another quarter before the Budget has a good effect on the capital or investment plans of business.

What is good out there that media outlets don’t want give much publicity to? Try these:

  • Consumer confidence is now above the long-term average and rose by 6.4% in April to 102.4 – a 16-month high. The increase in May was the largest increase for a May month (post federal budget) since 2007!
  • The biggest rise in confidence was for the 25-44 year demographic, where the index was at 106, up a huge 16.3%!
  • Job ads are up 10 months out of the last 11.
  • In trend terms, job ads have now increased for 18 consecutive months.
  • Retail sales rose for the tenth straight month, up by 0.3% in March.  
  • Dwelling approvals over the past 12 months are at a record high of 210,484. 
  • A month ago, ad guru Harold Mitchell said advertising in the media was showing some nice green shoots.
  • The Reserve Bank told us this week that another rate cut hasn’t been ruled out and they’d only do this to bring our dollar down.
  • And don't forget that out super funds and house prices have been going gangbusters, meaning we’re getting wealthier by the week!

Finally, the outlook for stocks is positive and that’s because the outlook for the world economy is getting better, with even Europe showing some good economic growth signs.

I could go on but that will do. If you’re negative on our future, then you probably have been over-influenced by my mates in the media but I’m here to balance up the ledger.

Regular readers know I have been advising to buy the dips on the stock market since early 2009 and if you’d listened to me you would have made a small fortune and that story is still a goer.

Like it or not, I’m positive until the data tells me it’s time to change. Until then, I’m reintroducing my Good News Daily section on www.switzer.com.au and I say, “Long live positivity!”

If you liked this article you'll love the Switzer Report, our newsletter and website for trustees of self-managed super funds. Click here for a FREE trial and to hear more of Peter’s expert commentary and advice.

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