The Motley Fool

Are you up to date with these major market events last week?

It was another interesting week in the markets last week. Scott Phillips, head analyst of The Motley Fool Share Advisor service, did his best to counter one investor’s assertion that the ASX is rigged, and short-term trading is the way to go (it’s not, and it’s not).

There were also a lot of updates from the medical sector, and discussions of whether Australia is really facing a recession pervaded the media. Here’s what you need to know about:

The Miners

Resource investment is at its lowest point in more than a decade, and likely to stay that way as global growth and resource demand slows. We’ve been saying it for a while, but it looks like it really is the end of the line for mining services stocks.

Healthcare Stocks

Is it finally time to buy into Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL)? Shares have gone as low as $2.15, and could fall further as investors lower their expectations for the stock.

Prima BioMed Limited (ASX: PRR) soared 43% again on Monday after an incredible run last week. Up 764% in the past 7 days, many readers are no doubt wishing they owned a time machine. Nevertheless, biotechs stocks remain incredibly risky, and you would be better off steering clear of the stock.

One Foolish writer was majorly wrong on Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL), when he wrote that shares weren’t a buy even at $30. He identifies his mistake in this in-depth look at the company’s prospects here. Now that shares are trading at $78, it is time for prospective investors and shareholders alike to consider if the business still offers value.

Liver cancer phenomenon Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX: SRX) went back into a trading halt as it presents its SIRFLOX clinical studies in America over the weekend. Investors will be hoping that Sirtex’s therapy may be selected as a second-line therapy after it was found unsuitable as a first-line treatment, but this does not appear likely. Shares should resume trading on Monday morning.

The Others

Shares in Skilled Group Ltd (ASX: SKE) soared to $1.45 after a better offer materialised from a prospective buyer. It’s not necessarily a buy at today’s prices, but fortunately management has a plan B if the takeover offer doesn’t pan out.

Human resources start-up 1-Page Ltd (ASX: 1PG) doesn’t necessarily look like a buy either, but partnerships with the world’s largest enterprises and rapid growth in its databases mean the stock could be worth keeping an eye on. Reductions in cash outflow will be key, and investors should watch the upcoming six-monthly update closely.

Accounting and payroll software provider Myob Group Ltd (ASX: MYO) continues to slide despite announcing an acquisition, falling to $3.47 on Friday.

(Several contributors still think Myob is expensive; find out why here)

Australian Finance Group Ltd (ASX: AFG) also experienced a lacklustre week, which could indicate Australia’s appetite for Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) is cooling.

Last but not least, readers and contributors alike probably learned a few sobering lessons from Ben Bernanke – former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve – when he said yesterday that:

“Subprime mortgages were a small asset class. We calculated that if all subprime mortgages went bad on the same day it would have only been the size of a bad day on the stock market.

Needless to say, that ‘bad day’ sparked the Global Financial Crisis. It’s a sobering look at how fragility in the system results in smaller shocks having a bigger impact, and with the media recently covering a number of problems with our financial system Mr Bernanke’s comments probably hit home for many Australians.

(You can find analyst Matt Joass’ full coverage of Ben Bernanke’s speech to yeseterday’s World Business Forum in Sydney, here)

In addition to a discussion of Australia’s financial systems, readers may have noticed an increasing amount of speculation in the media that Australia could be facing a recession. A lack of liquidity in the bond markets has raised some concerns, while there are also fears that attempts to slow property lending to investors could burst the housing bubble and flatten bank profits, sparking a market crash.

Foolish contributor Andrew Mudie wrote about 7 stocks to avoid if you fear we’re facing a recession, and I shared three dog stocks I’m selling, and how to prepare your portfolio for a recession in two articles here, and here.

The Motley Fool’s team of analysts also got into the spirit, by attempting to answer the age-old question:

Is a market crash really coming - and what would you do if it did?

The team shares their thoughts on whether they think a market crash is coming, and comes up with some expert tips on how to protect YOUR portfolio just in case it is. Better yet, as part of TMF's mission to 'help Australians invest, better', head analyst Scott Phillips is sharing this report for free with all interested investors. Just click here, enter your email address, and we'll send it to you - it's that simple.

There's no credit card or payments required, so what are you waiting for?

Click here now to receive your free copy.

Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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