Excitingly, Rio Tinto's record dividend wasn't what surprised us. What did was the miner's comments on lithium. We've never known the mining giant to be so open on prospects for any particular metals; they never look too far out from normal and are extremely conservative. But now RIO is talking about 25-35% a year demand growth for lithium over the next decade!
In this reporting season, we're on the outlook for the base metals, copper and nickel. And guess what?
Batteries are a big factor, as is ESG - environmental and social factors.
We're exploring the iron ore pricing, and explain the varying valuations. It's not simple but the world's determination to reduce carbon emissions is a big factor, as are the actions of China, the world's second biggest economy.
We analyse in depth Fortescue Metals (FMG) and Rio Tinto (RIO) to tell you whether to Buy, Sell or Hold.
Back to RIO's dividend.
Capital management is already a big theme this reporting season. Big dividends on top of a strong balance sheet highlights that CEOs are increasingly cognisant of shareholder desire for cash. Not value destructive acquisitions or organic investment. This is one of the key reasons we are overweight big resources and the banks.
On that note, we're also covering NAB's on market buy-back, which follows fast on the heels of ANZ's, which we had predicted.
The banks raised equity capital during the early stages of the pandemic, in anticipation of a considerable increase in bad and doubtful debts. That hasn't materialised because of JobKeeper and to a lesser extent the vaccine rollout. The banks are now able to return capital and maintain APRA's capital requirements. Buy backs alone won't drive up bank share prices, but they do send a signal of their strong balance sheets, which will be increasingly enticing as the Delta variant creates havoc with economic and market uncertainty.
There were interesting comments from Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe around reduced bond buying. But it's clear to us that we're not going to get interest rate rises any time soon. Economic growth has been reliant on immigration and that's not going to start any time soon. We had a small version of taper tantrum this week, but it didn't affect the equity markets at all.
Where does all this leave us? I can't emphasise enough the need for some dividend providing Blue Chips in your portfolio to enable you to go out and have fun, looking for the sorts of growth that our friends at Afterpay have delivered on.
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