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IT’S BUDGET TIME SO WHICH SPORTING INVESTMENT SHARES SHOULD YOU BUY, SELL OR HOLD? – PETER FITZSIMONS – SMH

By Peter FitzSimons, Sydney Morning Herald

With the Treasurer about to deliver his federal budget within two shakes of a burnt stick, it is time for your humble correspondent to deliver my annual advice on your sporting investment portfolio, as regards which shares to buy, sell, and hold.

John Coates. $7.02. Sell. 

Tough call, but there is no way around it. His was a solid blue-chip stock until a couple of months ago when the challenge by Danni Roche for presidency of the AOC saw his price plunge from $12.57 to $8.22 practically overnight. Recent revelations have seen it fall further, and there are more to come.

Danni Roche. $3.58. Buy 

Just 27¢ three months ago, she is now rising by the week. If she gains the presidency, projections put her in the high $5-$6 range. (At that point, however, I’d sell. Remember Maxine McKew who did a staggering job defeating the sitting Prime Minister, John Howard, in Bennelong in 2007, and was rarely sighted thereafter. Ms McKew’s shares were never higher than on election night. I don’t necessarily say that will happen to Ms Roche as, after all, she will automatically take the top role should she win, and not be a mere back-bencher. I do say, however, that the fever of her accomplishment should push the shares to be well above their true value, in the short term.)

Rugby union. $2.46. Buy 

A totally undervalued stock. There is no doubt whatsoever that the game is stinking up the joint in Australia. When I called the NSWRU the other day and asked what time the next home match starts, they said: “What time can you get here?” But all those wise-head brokers who are encouraging their clients to unload rugby portfolios at any price, forget that beyond Australian shores, rugby is booming as never before. Ultimately it is that value, those rivers of gold that continue to flow into the Australian Rugby Union’s coffers from overseas broadcasters ready to pay top dollar to see Australian teams that will sustain rugby through this distressing time of the “Depression Years”. (See, the last decade-and-a-half, since we held the Bledisloe Cup.)

A-League. $3.42. Hold 

It is too hard to work out. I think it’s struggling. You think it’s struggling. But for some reason I don’t get, the insiders say it is as strong as ever, and getting stronger. On the other hand, soccer people always say that. It’s just in their blood. And so is falling to the ground screaming blue murder, even if you give them a light tap. Best thing is just to move on.

AFL. $19.52. Buy 

It’s as blue-chip as they get, and is getting bluer. It is true that the AFL cheats somewhat by putting something in the water of the AFL follower that makes them mad for the game from the cradle to the grave, but it works for them. And the stunning success of the Women’s AFL this year highlights both how well run the game is, and how far ahead of everyone else they are in making their game grow.

NRL. $12.52. Sell 

Something is going on this year, something like a change in the wind, whereby though all the media is still totally behind the game, the “buzzzzz”, is just not quite there. Plus, watch the concussion issue as it plays out in the courts. Todd Greenberg has done well this year to try to get on top of it, but I’ll bet it’s too late. Whatever happens in the current case, it is inevitable the game will face some serious pay-outs in the future which will push the share price down further. Finally, as more and more is known about concussion and the devastating long-term effects, it is equally inevitable that both players and spectators will veer away from what remains one of, if not the, highest-impact sports in the world.

Australian Cricket. $25. Sell

Just before the Ashes. As that fascinating report in the SMH yesterday made clear – Channel Nine is thought to have lost up to $40 million by broadcasting the game last year – the professional game might be well past high noon in Australia, and just starting to wane. Sunset is no time soon, but the simple truth is it does not grip everyone the way it once did. Of course it will return to fever pitch just before this summer’s home Ashes campaign, it always does, but that fever hides the truth – with the loss of the West Indies as a serious competitive side, international cricket has lost one of its prime pistons and is lagging accordingly.

Raiders. $3.85. Buy 

There’s something about that mob, under Ricky Stuart. About four years ago I got into the ear of their chair, telling him he had rocks in his head to take on Stuart, as he was just too intense and made his players wither, rather than grow. The chair ignored me, and was right to do so. Sticky has transformed them, and even though they’ve had a couple of unlucky losses, they will be dangerous come the finals.

Penrith. 62¢. Sell 

Penny Panthers have become the Penny Dreadfuls in the space of just six weeks or so, and no team in the country has been more Ordinary on the All-Ordinaries Index than them – and there is no sign it is going to end any time soon. I can never work out where in Phil Gould’s “rebuilding phase” they are up to, but that roar in the distance ain’t more builders coming. It is Joe’s Bulldozers, on their way to knock over what’s up already and start again. It is going to be very expensive, won’t necessarily work, and that will push the share price down even further.

Come to think of it, an investment in Joe’s Bulldozers could be very useful. If the Waratahs, Swans and Collingwood don’t start winning soon, Joe will be very busy indeed and should make a fortune!

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

Peter FitzSimons is managed by The Fordham Company.

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