Portfolio

The calm before the storm? Not really
SINGAPORE (Sept 17): US stocks have been largely impervious to the brewing turmoil in emerging markets so far this year, hovering near record high levels even as stocks in the latter are being buffeted by trade tensions and contagion fears. We discussed this divergence in recent articles. In fact, the US market has continued to rally despite many a market observer calling for caution on ...
Macro and geopolitical issues overshadow fundamentals
SINGAPORE (Sept  10): Globally, equity markets got off to a shaky start in September, which is historically not a good month for stocks if you are the superstitious kind. That said, there are reasons for caution. Trade tensions remain high. The US and Mexico struck a bilateral trade deal at ­end-August, one that left out Canada — a party to the three-country North American Free Trade ...
From sovereign wealth fund to sovereign catalytic investor
SINGAPORE (Sept 3): Khazanah Nasional was formed in 1993 as a strategic investment fund of the government of Malaysia. Its stated objectives are to “hold-manage select commercial assets of the government, undertake strategic investments on behalf of the nation and play a catalytic role in driving various strategic industries and national initiatives, nurturing their development in pursuit ...
US benefits by raising trade tensions
SINGAPORE (Aug 27): US policies — on foreign affairs, trade, fiscal as well as monetary — are ­creating geopolitical and economic uncertainties globally and are, in the process, causing havoc in stock, currency and commodity markets.   While there can be no winner in a trade war, threatening a trade war has benefited the US. This perhaps may be US President Donald Trump’s real ...
Part 1: Growing income-wealth inequality and conventional solutions
SINGAPORE (August  20): I wrote about the growing empirical evidence of declining income mobility some weeks back. Few would dispute that this is happening, in both the developed and developing worlds. There may be more debate over the reasons behind this phenomenon but the un­equal distribution of income growth and wealth inequality are, without doubt, the key factors. Economic ...
Inevitable monopolisation of the economy
SINGAPORE (August  13): The shine may finally be coming off high-flying tech stocks — just as ­Apple reached a historic milestone as the first company in the US to achieve a market capitalisation of US$1 trillion ($1.4 trillion).  The latest earnings season saw starkly diverse fortunes for the so-called FAANG stocks — the acronym for five of the largest US tech companies and ...
Consistent downtrend in income mobility… a gloomy future ahead?
SINGAPORE (Aug 6): Anaemic wage growth is a global phenomenon — and one that has stumped central bankers and economists.  Economics 101 teaches us that when unemployment drops, employers competing for a smaller pool of workers will have to pay higher wages, and that will eventually push up inflation.  This inverse relationship is the core of many economic models, including the ...
Value investing requires conviction
SINGAPORE (July 30): It is important to have conviction in investing. Stock markets are very much driven by sentiment and emotion. This is underscored by the roller-coaster ride we have experienced for the better part of this year.  Markets are faced with a growing list of uncertainties, not least because of the difficulty in assessing and quantifying the potential damage from a trade war ...
We came with nothing, and we will leave with nothing. The sharing economy
SINGAPORE (July 23): First came the smartphone. It wasn’t an immediate hit. There were the early adopters, but the device was not much more than a mobile phone with PDA functions. Smartphone popularity didn’t really take off until Apple gave the world the iPhone in 2007. Its elegant design and touch screen interface was so intuitive and user-friendly that it revolutionised the mobile phone ...
Let’s have greater clarity and transparency on BOD and CEO compensation
SINGAPORE (July 16): In the past two consecutive weeks, InsiderAsia, in collaboration with The Edge Malaysia, has painstakingly compiled the total remuneration for boards of directors for all the companies listed on Bursa Malaysia as well as compensations for their CEOs. The latter includes not just fixed salary but also bonus, benefits in kind and share options. Next week, The Edge Singapore ...