Tuesday, 22 December 2015

My first budget air to Penang

It's year end school break, and whole family went to Penang for a short holiday. I had travelled on budget airline for work, but as family, this is first time. We chosed Airasia as it has the better timing compared with the others. Here's my thoughts about using budget airline.
Booking changes
Due to some unforseen circumstances, we have to change our original travel date. This means that we have to pay the additional charges for the changes, and in the end, I can travel to as far as Bangkok for the total cost. Travel on budget is attractive provided the airfares that you have chosen is on promotion and that you dont make any changes after.
As part of the so call value added service from these budget airlines, they will offer total booking, including hotels and insurance. Please compare on those, as I found out mine, for the same hotel, it cost lots more than my booking with the hotel. Remember there is no free lunch.

As it's a budget airline, this means that you have to travel light. I used to travel without even bother to weigh my luggage, but this trip, I have to make sure that our luggage is not more than 7kg. I mean this is crap, but then again, they have to make money from somewhere. Before the trip, I read in some forum that they are strict with the weight. However, on this trip, I did not encounter any check at any of the checkpoint in the airport.

That's all for my after thoughts with budget airline, below was my 4 days Penang travel itinerary, nothing fantastic, just slow and easy as this is not our first trip there.

Day 1:
  1. Arrive and check into Goldensands at Batu Ferringhi. 
  2. Wasted no time and got a taxi to Gurney Plaza
  3. Had late lunch at Xuan Xin Ramen Kitchen and food was good. 
  4. Started shopping after late lunch at Gurney Plaza
  5. Left and went back to the hotel to rest early as everyone was tired.
Day 2:
  1. Had nice breakfast in the hotel
  2. Book a taxi for 6 hours at a reasonable price to bring us to the following places. We found this taxi uncle, Mr Ho, by chance, He sent us back to hotel from Gurney Plaza on Day 1 and found him to be honest. Thus we ask and booked him for our day 2 trip. If you need a driver, you can call him at 016-490 4756:
    • Kek Lok Si Temple
    • Lunch at Tek Sen, really good food
    • Penang Mural hunting, including a visit to Chew Jetty
    • Bought Tau Sa Piang at Ghee Hiang
    • Back to hotel
  3.  Dinner at KFC before turning in early for night after a tiring day. KFC tastes nicer in Malaysia somehow, so this is one of our usual meal that we will have.
Day 3:
  1. Took the free hotel shuttle bus to Georgetown for local food hunt
  2. went to joo hooi cafe at Penang road for our usual local fix. Quite disappointed as we found the standards (Char Kway Teow and Assam laksa) have drop compare to many years ago. 
  3. There are 2 stalls selling Chendol at the side lane, one is usually the longer queue and the other fairly quiet. I tried both, and they taste the same to me, thus I dont understand why bother to queue at all.
  4. Continue shopping and went back to hotel for swim.
  5. Had dinner at the ship restaurant. Been in Penang so many times, and first time dining there. Food is not bad and good experience.
That's it for the relaxing trip to wrap up 2015.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Retail reits - Are they still worth looking?

It's a festive month and many people are in the mood of spending for their love ones or themselves. There are many reits listed on SGX, who owns large shopping malls, is it worth looking at them now. Before you look at these reits, do take some time to read these articles below first, and it might change your thinking.
Alibaba Singles Day sales;
1. Alibaba busts Singles Day sales record
2. Alibaba rings up record sales
3. Alibaba tops Singles Day sales despite slowing China economy

Amazon's Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales;
1. Amazon gains the most on record-high cyber monday sales
2. Amazon capturing big slice of US online shopping
3. Online sales hit record

In the coming months, will this be the trend as to how Singaporeans will be shopping or has it already started?

Sunday, 13 December 2015

My first online shopping experience

Well, actually it's not really my first time buying stuff from the internet. Its just that the last time I bought stuff from a online merchant was more than 5 years ago. Recently, during the black friday and cyber monday, I bought some stuff from Amazon, and here are my thoughts after buying them.
With the USD getting stronger, it is no longer that appealing to buy stuff from the US. It only makes sense economically if  you get more than 50% savings. On the item which I had purchased, I managed to get 70% of savings off from the same item here. Recently, I saw the same brand having some 20% promotion locally, and if I were to buy here, the savings from my online purchase reduced to 45%. However, this is before shipping.

I used a local shipping provider, and because I was their new customer, they gave me a $15 off from my total shipping costs. With the shipping cost included, now my savings from my online purchase reduced to 30%.

At the time of writing, it's been 8 days and I have not received my "goods". This is because I used the free shipping option from Amazon, and it takes about 5 to 6 days to transport to the local provider's US address. It takes another 5 to 6 days for the local provider to transport my stuff into Singapore.

Banking Charges
I also just realised that I have been slapping with some banking charges known as dynamic currency conversion fee. At first I didnt know what is this, then I realised it was the conversion from USD to SGD which Amazon has offered me.

Now that I learned (the hard way) of all the charges involved, the item must have a substantial savings before I will shop online again. It also has to be stuff that I dont need urgently and can wait for at least 2 weeks shipping time as I only use the free shipping option.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

What does George Soros, David Tepper and Robert Shiller think in common?

In the recent few months, these big boys have been feeling negative about the US stock market, or at least their action says so. It might be worth taking a serious look as all the US indices are all time high.

George Soros has been increasing his shorts in the S&P in a big way for many months now. He has also been slashing and reducing his exposure to the US equities in the recent months. Check this article from seekingalpha.com and bloomberg.

Another successful hedge fund founder, David Tepper, has also been reducing his exposure of his US equities. Hedge funds tends to be sensitive to the market and react when the indicators are telling them to. Check this article from marketwatch.com.

Lastly, most people knows this guy, Robert Shiller. Check out the following articles on why the US market is expensive now.

The table below shows the CAPE ratio of the various major economies.

Source: https://www.researchaffiliates.com

Knowing these information helps us to navigate on what next, so how will you use these informations.

Happy SG50 Singapore.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Best 2015 Performer

Russia stock market was one of the worst performer last year, and remember in one of my previous post, I mentioned that my initial investment was down by more than 30%. This year, despite all the bad news, Russia market is one of the best performer, apart from China.
Just last week, I have added on to my initial investment, as the chart below shows that the price has broken the 200D resistance. This is one of the common indicator also used by professional to determine a change in trend of the stock.

In my next post, I will be sharing the other market which has caught my attention and on my radar.

Related post: Russia unloved

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Monday, 20 April 2015

Profit taking April2015

Most of the markets have risen by more than 20%, and this has also result in most of the stock counters rised by as much, if not much more. At this point of time, it is definitely tempting to take some money of the table. Thus I have taken profit from 2 counters and the reasons for doing so below.

Suntec Reit
Most of the readers know that this is one of my favourite stock, and thus it took a while for me to decide to sell. Luckily, that 'while' did not result in more downside of the price. I am still learning to overcome the emotional element despite the fact that TA has indicated a sell in the mid-term.
The chart above shows that it has tested the 200MA few times and 50MA has turned down, indicating a trend change in mid term. On the left, noticed the 2 gap down, it has not successful in overcoming these gaps since. At 14% gain, I decided to take profit.

I have spoken about China ETF last year and had taken a position then. I have taken the position at the time when there were many bad news about China, remember there were news about bubble in the making, properties going to crash, trade and GDP is dwindling, etc. China also initiated the cross trading with Hong Kong, and for months, this initiative was treated lukewarm by many investors. However, in the past few months, all these changed. There have been news about multi-folds of brokerage accounts opened, everyone is talking about stock market, even China 'Da Ma' now speculates in shares, like they have done in buying Gold. It has got a good run, and at 30% profit, I decided to lock down my gains. I sold partial and left some to see where it will be heading as we should not underestimate the Chinese market. Looking back, I guess the good time to buy was when nobody was interested and in midst of many bad news.

Time to relook at Russia?? :)

Related posts:
1. Time to relook at Chinese market
2. Stock watch: Suntec Reit

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Will AC effect result in a market correction?

Since last year, the Chinese stock market has been rising and this uptrend was also followed by Hang Seng Index in the recent months. Just few days ago, TVB decided to telecast an old film starting next Monday. For those of us who are old enough, you will remember this film 《大時代》, it's about the stock trading and speculation.
The focus here is on the actor, Adam Cheng. After this show was first telecast in 1992, it followed with a major correction on the Hong Kong stock market. This happens subsequently for the next 32 times whenever his show was telecast, is this a coincident or what. And thus this was known as the “丁蟹效应”

The chart below shows the correction that happened.
Do you think 'Adam Cheng effect' will happen next week?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

What happened to STI when Fed raised rates?

The market was extremely volatile on past few occasions whenever the Fed meets to discuss when they should raise the interest rates. This is often followed by experts giving their opinions and some even identify the period this year when Fed will announce the rates increase. I find this amazing cause the only person who knows is none other than Yellen herself. 
As there is no question about the impending rate increase in the near future, instead of trying to figure out when it will happen, I think to prepare one's portfolio, it is helpful to know what happened to STI historically when the rates were increased. I came across an article from a fellow blogger, 'A wealth of common sense', who did a study against the S&P 500. You can find his article here
Using the same data points, let's find out how the STI had performed. 

From Yahoo.com, I only managed to find STI data starting from 1988, thus the sample size is very small. Although we cant conclude anything from this chart due to the small sample size, it is interesting to note that during the 2003 to 2007, there is a 100% increase. On average, with the 4 rates hike, STI is still positive.

One last observation, I am not sure if this is coincidental, but months after the last rate increased, it was always followed by a correction as shown in the chart below.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Investor Sentiments (5April)

Fear and Greed index from CNN money and sentiment survey from AAII.

Source: http://www.aaii.com/SentimentSurvey/?adv=yes

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A conversation with an Intern

Recently, my company engaged a few interns from a local poly. I had a chance to talk to one of them over lunch and kopi session. Let's call him J. At the initial conversation, J is like other boys of his age, easy going and jovial. After a few conversation, as you get to know him more, he is more mature than most of the boys of his age.
J comes from a low income family, his parent makes only enough to provide the basic food and necessities. Since he started his poly education, he has been working whenever he can during the weekend or after school to supplement his education. Due to his family situation, he has gotten some education grant, however, that is only enough to pay 2 terms of his fees. I then asked him how about the remaining 2 terms and also his expense. He told me he will work whenever he can over weekends, and that has been enough to cover his fees for the remaining 2 terms and also his expense. At his point, I guess most of us have been very fortunate, not having to worry about our course fees back then. Most of my classmates, including myself, do not have to work during school terms to help supplement our course fees.
J shared with me he has started his investing into stocks as he realised that with proper use of this tool, it might be a chance for him to have a better financial situation in the future. He has attended some of those free courses, and is trying to find a method that suits him. At his age, most of his peers will be thinking of what movies to catch, which latest phone or gadget to buy, and here is a young men who has started his investment journey.
Given his resilient character and matured thinking, I believe this young men will do well. I wish him all the best for his journey after graduation.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Time to buy car ... HUAT AH??

A friend of mine booked his car before Chinese New Year as they gave him a high trade-in value for his current 8 years old car. 2 days after he booked his car, another agent from another car model which he did not purchase from, send him a text on a one day promo of 15% discount off the model he was looking at. For first time, for that particular model, after discount, it will be below $100K. He thought I would be interested and thus forwarded the text to me. Frankly, it prompt me to look, and being Singaporeans, we all love discount. 
COE closed lower for the first time from the last bidding exercise, as shown in the table and chart below. I didnt know there is such a nice chart, do you guys see what I am seeing ...... Ha.... yes, looks like chart of moving average. And for those who knows TA, what does the look of the chart tells you.

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/coelargechart0805.html

GONG XI FA CAI, to those who will be shopping for car soon...

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Learn how a janitor amassed $8m fortune

This is a real life story of how an ordinary folk is able to amassed huge fortune in his entire life. To reach our financial goals, most of us live frugally, try and invest wisely while some people surrounding us are enjoying high life with luxury items. At times, it makes you wonder if it is all worth it. It's story like this that affirms one's belief.

Ronad Read is one of the many example out there, and a common traits among them is:

It is that simple isnt it.

Here is the link for more of his story.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

My first invest book in 2015

As the saying goes, it is important that we start the year off right. I have just finished reading this book 'Show me the Money' by Teh Hooi Ling. Most of us would have known her for her writings on investment in the Sunday Times or Business Times. 
Her writing style for this book is using lots of data and facts for comparisons which I find very useful as it is easier to understand and to get the message across. The chapters have been written progressively for the readers:

  • starting with basic concepts
  • then looking at the different types of valuation matrix one can use as fundamental analysis,  
  • follow by, how once can form his/her asset allocation,
  • small section on comparing returns from property against equity,
  • psychology of investing and REITS.
The chapters I liked most are chapter 2 and 3. In chapter 2, using lots of data and comparison, it shows the reader why one can use this successful and proven method as part of his/her investment strategy. Chapter 3 is about market timing, the main message I guess is one should time the market based on valuation and not NEWS.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to someone who is starting his/her investment journey and even to those who has been investing for many years. It should help the novice to build his fundamental knowledge and the experienced ones to fine-tune their strategy.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Bright spot in commodities?

In the invest section of the Sunday Times today, the reporter wrote about how one can invest in the different type of commodities and where to find the bright spot. Apart from what was mentioned, locally there are few counters which is commodities related, such as Noble group, Golden Agri and Wilmar International. Here I will share my simple view of one of these counter in this post, and why I bought into the counter.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

What happened to inflation

Just not too long ago, many economists were worried about inflation due to many countries printing money and starting the similar QE programs. A few months ago, oil crashed, and this changed the whole equation. Now, the same economists are talking about a possible deflation in most countries. Lately, we have seen countries launching their own programs whether through interest rates or currency to prevent their economy from falling into deflation.
Yesterday, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it will let our Sing dollar to appreciate at slower pace, news from channelnewsasia. The core inflation is also down from the earlier forecast of 2 to 3 percent. For the longest time, we have always been told that one need to own assets like property, commodities or gold to protect oneself from inflation. With the latest action from MAS, what do we need to do and now with a possibly sign of deflation, what do we do?

Remember cash is 'king', no matter which situation you are in. It's without doubt that USD is still a global recognised and traded currency, one which investors like to have in times of uncertainty. I mean USD has performed strongly against major currency and looking at all the positives signs on the US economy, what is preventing the USD from moving up some more.

Buy High Good Dividend Stocks
Whether is it inflation or deflation, we still need to buy things that we need to us daily, these will be good sector to look at. It will be even better if one is able to find valued high dividend paying stock. Just not too long ago, Asia superman, Mr. Li Ka Shing ramped up his huge purchased of assets in the UK, especially the Utilities asset. Is he preparing for deflation too?

Let's see how this will turn out and I guess no point trying to predict, we will know in time to come.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

My first purchase in 2015

UMS holdings is in the semiconductor industry with facilities in Singapore, Penang and US. In this post, I will be sharing my simple assessment on this counter, and reason for getting my first exposure into this industry. The share price has been in range of $0.495 and $0.5 for last week, and below is the chart from yahoo for past few years.


The stock is trading on PE ratio of 5.5, and dividend yield of 9%, as shown below from Bloomberg.

Comparing with it's peers, UMS does not look expensive.

So why semiconductor? This is my first counter in the semiconductor industry. I first noticed this industry when reading some tech article about the Apple 'iwatch' and TSMC. Everybody is waiting and watching the launch of the 'iwatch' this year, deemed to be THE launch of 2015, and this is going to bring the semiconductor to the next level with other similar launches of consumer electronics. This has also been shared in a recent article about TSMC, the world largest foundary in the industry. The founder and boss of TSMC, Mr Morris Chang spoke at length about the next big internet things on all consumer electornics. The same sentiment was also shared by Samsung CEO in the recent CES show in Vegas, that year 2015, will be the start of internet of things. Below were just few articles which I have come acrossed;

  1. CTIMES News - Mr Morris Chang
  2. Techradar on iwatch
  3. Samsung CEO at CES, Vegas
  4. Gartner on semiconductor spending
Based on the above, I took a small bite on UMS holdgings.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

A good way to keep track of your expense

I can't remember what was my New year resolution last year, and as the New year had started, I thought I will try to have one. I try not to be too ambitious here, if there are too many resolutions, it might be hard to keep to it. I am sure many people have already made their new year resolution, but I am not sure how many of these resolutions are about improving one's financial health.
I am going to start with a basic one, which is to keep track of my household expense. I still remembered I used to have an army mate who will record daily without fail, how much he spent into the good old blue colour small notebook. Over the years, I tried many times starting to keep track of my expense. It didnt last more than 6 months as it was too cumbersome to maintain. I guess it will definitely help if it is convenient and easily accessible to record these expenses, it will have to be a smartphone application then.
I started using this money app, 'money journal',  at the start of the year, which is supported on IOS. It is a simple money budgeting app and really easy to use. It has the typical functions of allowing one to key in income, budget for the month and expense. The feature that I like most is the ability to export the file to google docs. This is really a useful feature as it allows one to do more creative calculation or graphs on excel.
I do understand the benefits of keeping track of one's expense, then you know where the money was being spent on and one can then take appropriate action to reduce any unnecessary spending. What about you, recommendations are welcome. :)