Portfolio

Let’s not sell ourselves short
SINGAPORE (Jan 21): Why do I say this? There has been much talk and discussion about how New Malaysia should move forward from hereon. We know that government finances are stretched and, therefore, can no longer prop up the economy with huge spending. We also know that the people are struggling, with sluggish income growth and rising cost of living. Therefore, we cannot expect a big boost from ...
Blueprint needed on digitalising the key pillars of the economy
(Jan 14): The peaceful revolution by the people through the ballot box, which threw out a 61-year-old governing party on May 9, 2018, means different things to different people. For me, it was an immediate relief. Relief in the knowledge that had it been otherwise, my life would be more miserable with more intimidation and threats and we were already warned that The Edge might be closed ...
Cash dividend or share buyback?
SINGAPORE (Dec 24): Uncertainties and volatility remain heightened in global equity markets. Swings of several hundred points are now a daily occurrence for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, probably the most closely watched market barometer in the world. It is enough to give investors whiplash — and may well be quite disheartening for those buying on fundamentals. It does appear as ...
My money in my pocket, please
SINGAPORE (Dec 17): Against the backdrop of heightened volatility, it is understandable that investors will seek lower-risk stocks as a safe haven. Typically, these would be companies with stable businesses, that pay consistent dividends (that will at least give investors a dependable stream of income in the absence of capital gains) and that have strong balance sheets. Last week, I noted ...
Pay out excess cash to maximise shareholder value
SINGAPORE (Dec 10): Last Monday’s rally turned out to be short-lived, underscoring persistent volatility in equity markets, but the outlook for emerging markets may have just brightened some.  Of significance, US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said that the benchmark interest rate is now “just below” the neutral level. This is in stark contrast to his use of the words ...
Will rising interest rates hurt corporates badly?
SINGAPORE (Nov 30): November was another choppy month for Wall Street and global stock markets. Despite robust corporate earnings in the US, expectations are that earnings have peaked as interest rates start to rise and the US-China spat affects trade. A decade of pump-priming amid low interest rates and easy credit has reflated asset prices and led to growing indebtedness, and this has to ...
Nine Dragons ahead of the curve in supply strategy
SINGAPORE (Nov 26): China-based stocks have been among the world’s worst performers this year, as fears of the US-China trade war and a cooling economy have hit stock prices hard. Our investment in Nine Dragons Paper Holdings (NDP), China’s biggest manufacturer of paper packaging products, is no exception. But rather than a sharp fall in earnings, the stock is suffering from a severe ...
Of Big Tech and S-curves
SINGAPORE (Nov 19): US stocks rebounded higher at the start of the month, on the heels of the steep selloff in October, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 5.1% and 6.9% respectively. The reprieve was short-lived, however, as stocks succumbed to another wave of selling this week.   Judging from the market’s reaction to the latest 3Q2018 ...
A budget with broad-based, long-term implications
SINGAPORE (Nov 12): Malaysia’s Budget 2019 was probably one of the most anticipated and closely watched in recent years. After all, it is the first budget from the newly installed Pakatan Harapan government. In the run-up, the government had warned that sacrifices were required in view of the country’s trillion-ringgit debt burden. That certainly had many bracing for the ...
Market selloff on good, bad and ugly news
SINGAPORE (Nov 5): When the good is not good enough and the bad becomes ugly. That seemed to be the overriding theme for investors as confidence took a nosedive in what has turned out to be an extremely volatile October.  Bellwether indices around the world are now almost uniformly in the red for the year to date, while the previously outperforming Wall Street is just marginally ...