Economists have predicted that Australia's mining boom is over. No surprises there.
But some are predicting the next two industries to go through the supercharged gains are the Australian technology and biotechnology/healthcare industries.
Personally, I have come to doubt the fact technology will become a lucrative export for Australia and I'll tell you why. It's our own worst enemy.
A company that will soon list on the Australian Stock Exchange, Freelancer.com, has revolutionised the technology industry. It connects contractors from around the globe (for example, in India) with both business people and IT professionals here in Australia. It offers a way for businesses to outsource "projects" to technology experts over the internet.
This, combined with cloud computing, essentially removes our competitive advantage because Freelancer's contractors can do the same jobs as Australians, only cheaper. Freelancer has over 5.1 million projects online right now and the trend is about to put the technology industry in a stranglehold.
The future for healthcare is much brighter — we're not likely to see our specialist healthcare services take off overseas, although the manufacturing of products could be offshored.
Therefore, Australia's ability to design and produce superior medical technologies will persist for years to come. Companies that stand to benefit from this trend are CSL (ASX: CSL), Resmed (ASX: RMD), Sirtex (ASX: SRX), Cochlear (ASX: COH) and Sonic Healthcare (ASX: SHL).
However many investors have already realised this potential and pushed the share prices higher in our favourite healthcare stocks. As such, you'll have to be willing to pay up to add them into your portfolio.
There is one way to pick up good stocks cheap. All we do is to wait for some "bad" news to arise. What I mean is that we should wait for the market to irrationally sell off a good stock. This happens all too often when investors become short-sighted and focus on yearly profit guidance instead of the long-term prospects of a company. For that reason, Cochlear is giving investors a great 'discounted' entry price right now.
Healthcare stocks can be extremely lucrative investments, both in terms of growth and dividends but they face a number of uncontrollable risks. As noted earlier if investors wanted exposure to the above stocks they'll have to be willing to pay a high price.