Portfolio

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 ...
High savings rate a useful buffer
SINGAPORE (Oct 29): It does appear as though uncertainties, nerves and heightened volatility could become the new norm for financial markets globally. While specific geopolitical risks will ebb and flow, a widening trade spat between the US and China as well as the unwinding of years of unprecedented monetary policies and excessive liquidity will have enduring impact. The US Federal ...
More losses for Chinese stocks as volatility rises
SINGAPORE (Oct 22): Volatility appears to be the theme of the day in global stock markets. Investors are noticeably jittery, following a bruising couple of weeks, although a steadier Wall Street has allayed the worst of fears, for now.  The US economy remains in good shape. Recent data showed a record number of jobs available in August. The main worry is rising valuations and a ...
Is there a price to righteousness?
SINGAPORE (Oct 15): Stock markets around the world succumbed to another wave of intense selling pressure. This time, the US market was not spared, which is not entirely a surprise, given that its recent record run has further widened the valuation gap with the rest of the world. Bellwether indices in the region are all in a sea of red. Chinese stocks caught up with the selloff after ...
Yawning valuation gap between US stocks and the rest of the world
SINGAPORE (Oct 8): Global markets, save for Wall Street, headed into the last quarter of 2018 with a sense of caution. There are reasons to be wary, seeing that developments in the first nine months have not gone according to script, confounding almost all analyst expectations at the start of the year.  Narratives on the much-vaunted synchronised global growth have all but ...
No more PPP (Piratisation of Public funds for Private interests), please
SINGAPORE (Oct 1): Last week, we discussed some of the major issues with regard to the current state of housing in Malaysia. To briefly recap, the rising number of unsold houses across the nation indicates that there is ample supply in the market. However, many are still unable to own a home. This is due primarily to the gap between house prices and income levels. We showed an estimated cost ...
Housing in Malaysia: Issue is not availability but affordability
SINGAPORE (Sept 24): There has been much discussion on the adequacy of the current (affordable) housing supply and, crucially, the lack of homeownership in Malaysia.  Statistics suggest that there are enough houses built in the country. Property developers have been churning out houses at a healthy rate over the years — in fact, more than keeping pace with population growth (see Chart ...
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 ...