Portfolio

Why I bought more of Alibaba recently

(June 17): Stocks around the world have bounced back with a vengeance from the selloff in May. While the jury is still out as to whether a trade deal between the US and China can be had, equity markets have been given a lease of life — by the US Federal Reserve.

The central bank hinted that it would cut interest rates should there be signs that the domestic economy is weakening on the back of ongoing trade conflicts and a global economic slowdown. If the Fed does in fact reduce rates, it could trigger a fresh round of monetary easing worldwide.

What's the right and fair pay for CEOs?

(June 10): The subject of remuneration has always been one of fascination. We are naturally curious about how much our friends, colleagues, boss and competitors are being paid. In the US, mainstream news media such as The Wall Street Journal publishes annually a list of how much CEOs of the biggest listed companies — the likes of Bob Iger, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett and Larry Page — earn.

Next week, The Edge Singapore will carry a similar article, listing the 40 highest-paid CEOs for companies listed on Bursa Malaysia and the Singapore Exchange.

Mixed bag of marriage, Raya, home and Mickey Mouse

(June 3): How many bridegrooms get to introduce his grandchildren? Well, I did, last Monday. And Selamat Hari Raya to all our Muslim friends. Now, to the article for the week. Why home and Mickey Mouse?

The tense trade war standoff between the two largest economies in the world will keep markets on the back foot, until there is greater clarity. Emerging-market stocks and currencies have, so far, borne the brunt of the selloff, as is to be expected. Investors tend to flock to safer assets when there are greater uncertainties.

A tech war will be the end for this bull market

(May 27): Investors should probably brace for a protracted impasse on trade talks between the US and China. After the latest round of tariff hikes by both countries, China appears to have hardened its stance, with state media ramping up nationalistic rhetoric. The US blacklisting of Huawei Technologies raised tensions further and has widespread repercussions for many companies that are part of the complicated global supply chain.

In fact, should the tariff war turn into a bona fide tech war, it is very likely to spell the end of this bull market.

Global Portfolio outperforms MSCI index and has positive absolute returns

SINGAPORE (May 20): The tide appears to have shifted once again for global stock markets. After fanning hopes of an imminent breakthrough on a trade deal for months, US President Donald Trump escalated tensions with a trademark tweet a couple of weekends ago.

Labour is lowly paid but not underpaid in Malaysia

(May 13): With the one-year anniversary of the Pakatan Harapan-led government now in the rear-view mirror, one thing is certain — much more remains to be done. In particular, the issue of the rising cost of living continues to top surveys as the biggest challenge for Malaysians.

The stock market is a market for stocks

(May 6): We know that the world’s stock markets are correlated and move in lockstep, especially during periods of heightened volatility and uncertainties. For instance, if the US market suffers a massive selloff overnight, you can almost be certain that Asian markets will open sharply lower and vice versa.

This positive correlation has only strengthened with globalisation and technological advancement, with information being disseminated widely and instantaneously. Financial markets are more closely integrated than ever before in history.

Tech companies, network effect, universal apps: Where the future and the past are different, yet similar

SINGAPORE (Apr 29): A significant portion of the value we have seen created in technology has been credited to the network effect (or positive feedback loop) associated with digital platforms. Think Facebook, Apple, Amazon.com, Google (owned by Alphabet), Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, all of which have cemented near-monopolistic positions in their respective businesses and generated hundreds of billions in value for shareholders.

Why we sell the stocks even if we still like the companies

SINGAPORE (Apr 22): Let me start by wishing our Christian readers a blessed Easter.

This week, I would like to take a bit of space to explain why we recently disposed of several of our investments, some at a loss. We make big mistakes too, and it highlights the limitations of investing based on data analytics.

We decided to cut our losses in DIP Corp, a stock that we have held since the inception of this portfolio. It operates the largest web portal and mobile application for part-time and temporary jobs in Japan.

We are adding three US consumer-related stocks based on our contrarian view

(Apr 12): Last week, I talked about why US consumers may well be the key driver for near-term global growth, contrary to widely held views. To very quickly recap, thanks to a decade of deleveraging, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, US households have rebuilt their balance sheets. Household debt now stands at only 71.3% of GDP, down from the peak of 98.6% in 2007. Crucially, debt servicing as a percentage of disposable income has dropped to the lowest level in decades — leaving consumers with more to spend and/or save.

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