Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Good bye textbooks..

Today my maid was clearing my room and asked whether she could (finally) clear my unwanted texts, files and notes I have not touched for years. I gladly agreed.

I used to have the habit of keeping ALL my textbooks religiously for fear that I may need them if I ever meet an unsolvable problem at work. My belief was shattered as over the past decade, nothing of such happened. 



No wonder I do not see any plumber or air con technician bringing along their work manual to my home! The notes and text I have “saved up” no longer serve any purpose other than giving me lift to nostalgia lane. Over the years I have accumulated a lot of books but not knowledge; a lot of information but not intelligence; learnt a lot of case studies but not actionable plans. Are they worth keeping if they no longer serve the purpose of education?

I am a firm believer that the purpose of education is to fill an empty mind to an open one; thus I would gladly trade them for a cleaner room.  

Finally, I have more breathing space to fill up an open mind!


Friday, January 16, 2015

SBC predictions: Elections will be this year 2015 (2H), BEAR market after.

In my course of work, I am rewarded directly how accurate I read the future. If I get it right, clients make money and I am rewarded with trading fees.
Often, I base my decision on a combination of logic, pattern observation and intuition. Sometimes the trend are extremely obvious, eg we should be buying USD or HKD ever since there are talks from the Fed to hike rates last year; we should have been (and still) borrow in Eur, in which the interest rates is below 1% and buying into higher yielding assets like USD or good grade SGD bonds. When Capitaland issued a new 10 year bond paying 3.8% (reduced from initial price guidance of low 4%), everyone who has money should have bought it, as banks are willing to lend at least 70% of the purchase price and your outlay is only $75,000 for a $250,000 nominal value bond excluding fees. Today the bond trades above 102 bid. The upside in H shares look extremely glaring with good banks like ICBC, ABC, BOC (and many more), trading dividend yield of 7% with PE ratios of 5. Warren Buffet has made a comment that this is as good as money on the ground. Just pick it up. It was a no brainer that SIA and other airlines will benefit hugely from the massive oil correction; local banks will benefit as interest rates are expected to go up (3 years ago till now) etc.

I thoroughly enjoy the satisfaction that comes with monetary reward when I am proven right at work. Sometimes I do get it wrong as well. For instance, I did not expect HK gaming stocks to take a 40% hit within a short span of 6 months, oil to correct more than 50% or CHF will be rallying 30% last night. Good quality china property bonds are still paying more than 7% coupons but yet trading less than 95 and many more. I don’t get it wrong often, but sometimes not expecting an event means getting a forecast wrong due to the ripple effect of events. That’s life.  

Today let me make a free forecast on the timing of Singapore elections. Again, I have a 50% chance of getting it right, if its not this year, it will be next. However, it is more likely to be this year, after National Day and PM rally for the following reasons:

The SG50 is an elaborated celebration. I rarely follow what it is about, but it seems to have propaganda to let Singaporeans have a euphoric feel on our past achievements and be ecstatic about the future.

Mediacorp channel 8 shows are advertising blatantly in their drama on the pioneer generation cards and other excellent policies the government has administered. Ministers are attending talk/interview shows on TV frequently!
Mediacorp is 100% Temasek subsidiary.

There will be more COE supply from Feb 2015 onwards, alleviating our cost of car ownership.

The earlier the elections, the better for the ruling party. Less youngsters turn 21 to vote against them (if you have been reading SMRT feeback and The Real Singapore on Facebook), while more elder generation are alive to vote for their favourite elites.
The bull market started in 2009 March, it is in the 6th year and we all know we are nearer to the next bear than an extended bull. Will the ruling party want to take the risk of having an election where there is a financial crisis, where unemployment will be higher and less votes for them?

Revamp of IPPT and RT this year. This will please many reservists, including myself. I will only need to pay a fine if I do not attend IPPT after elections this year. Good job for that. I appreciate the grace period.

Low oil prices will mean inflation will be lower this year, giving MAS more leeway to weaken SGD and this will be a boost to our GDP as we are 300% dependent on exports. Oil prices will not stay low forever anyway. Many countries need it to be at US$100 to balance their social budgets.

What’s the use of predicting? It is useful for me as I can have a view of what will happen this year and plan my investments or even my career according to my central view of the world.

I used to work in a civil service and I could not stand the hypocrisy of incapable people playing politics to hide their incompetence. Though I have seen many good people in mediocre roles (myself included! Haa!) who on hindsight could achieve much more if they have worked in the private sector. Yet the environment was so stifling and many doubted themselves thus not daring to venture out of their familiar zones but stayed in the old place, suffering. In 2009, I made a prediction that the markets will definitely turn around sooner than later; studied a masters in finance then and started a junior role in banking while studying part time. Today I have enjoyed a good 5 years in banking and grown my personal investment to a 7 figure sum, pretty much in tandem with the bull market. Hence I am a firm believer that everyone should have some form of predictions that will aid them in earning their first and subsequent pot of gold.

Back to my predictions; look at the return on STI on the following election years

2 Jan1997 general election, STI contracted from 2449 (2 Jan 1996)- 2216 (3 Jan 1997), loss of 9.5%. 1.5 years later, STI hit 856 in August 1998.

3 Nov 2001 general election, STI contracted from 1952 (3 Nov 2000) - 1341 (1 Nov 2001), loss of 31%. STI was nearly at the bottom then but 1.5 years later, on 1 April 2003 STI fell to 1281.

6 May 2006 general election, STI rose from 2161 (6 May 2005) – 2632 (2 May 2006), gained of 21.8%. The bull market saw STI at 3805 in Oct 2007. 2 years after elections, STI fell to 1594 in Feb 2009.

7 May 2011 general election, STI rose from 2752 (7 May 2011) – 3099 (2 May 2011), gained of 12.6%. STI is around 3300 now.

If my prediction that 2015 Sept is the elections, by past 4 patterns, it seems that STI will always be lower after elections, meaning a bear market will occur. There are no visible patterns on whether STI will hit higher before elections.

Be careful of your investments, after elections.