Choosing Numbers, Beauty Contests and Stock Markets

By: Jay I once attended a class where the professor asked us to play a game. It was a pretty simple game on the surface. Everyone was asked to choose a number from 1 to 100. The person who chose a number that is closest to 2/3 of the average number that everybody chose will win the game. Now how should one choose such that it would maximize one's chances of winning? Well, first you must … [Read more...]

Don’t get caught in a bubble – Part 3

By: Jay The 3rd bubble that we will talk about would be Singapore's own property bubble in 1996-1997. This is the most interesting example bcos it is the only 1 in my 3 examples whereby prices have surpassed the previous peak. However that doesn't mean that investors who invested at the peak did ok. In fact most people will still be under water. But at least, they have much better chance to … [Read more...]

Don’t get caught in a bubble – Part 2

By: Jay The 2nd bubble that we will talk about is the one that is most familiar to many of us. This bubble goes by many names, the dot com bubble, tech bubble, IT bubble etc but I shall call it the TMT bubble (as some in the financial industry calls it). TMT stands for Tech, Media and Telco (I think), and it is named as such bcos these are the sectors that rallied the most during those days in … [Read more...]

Don’t get caught in a bubble – Part 1

By: Jay Investing in stocks or real estate or any other asset class is a good thing most of the time. Over time, most "well-known" investable asset classes give a good real rate of return (ie a return that can beat inflation lah). Ok the other caveat here is "well-known" asset classes, ie dont go and invest in wine or art, jewellery etc, chances are you are likely not to see your money … [Read more...]

DCA: When the market down, BUY MORE!

By: Jay Value investors rejoice when the markets go into correction mode. Bcos that means they can pick up good businesses at bargain prices. Logically and intuitively, this makes perfect sense, but somehow our ape-evolved brains are not wired to think that way. When the markets have rallied for some time and it goes down, we panic. When they subsequently rebound, we curse and swear that why … [Read more...]

More on inflation

By: Jay In the last post, we talked about how inflation will hurt us badly. Today we shall discuss some countermeasures. So inflation is a major issue if you think hard about it. All your savings goes down the drain and you are back to square one. You think you save S$1mn for your retirement and that should be enough. But hey 30 yrs from now, S$1mn cannot even buy HDB, Bcos the value of … [Read more...]

The return of inflation

By: Jay Most of us never really lived through periods of high inflation, thanks to very effective central banks throughout the 80s until today. But with recent rise in commodity prices translating to higher food prices, higher raw material prices, higher property prices, higher taxi fare, higher this, that and everything else, inflation may be coming back to haunt us. And believe me it's gonna … [Read more...]

Defensive stocks

By: Jay In different markets, different sexy terms come into play. I guess the latest infatuation on Wall Street in recent months has been "defensive stocks". Defensive stocks usually refer to stocks that will see stable profits even during times of trouble, ie like the past few months lah. These would be stocks in industry sectors like: consumer staples ie your food, beverage, razor blades … [Read more...]

Hurray! Buffett is World Richest!

By: Jay This is a time for the world's value investors to rejoice. Our hero, Warren Buffett has become the world's richest man, overtaking Bill Gates, Founder of Unpopular Vista and Insecure Windows and Carlos Slim, Monopoly Tyrant oops Tycoon of Mexico. Of course, Lady Luck has got a lot to do with this, here are a few facts to support the thesis: 1) Microsoft has eaten full full and got … [Read more...]

Shareholders’ Equity

By: Jay The balance sheet is basically an elaborated display of a simple equation. Assets - Liabiilities = Shareholders' Equity or simply Equity What this means is that whatever assets that a company owns, subtracting whatever the company owes, gives you what's left for shareholders. This is also known as the book value of the company. Shareholders' Equity is usually at the bottom … [Read more...]

Free Cash Flow Yield or FCF

By: Jay One advanced but quite useful financial ratio that has not been discussed on this blog is the Free Cash Flow Yield. This no. tries to determine how much return can an investor expect after the company has made its money and invested what it needs for future operations. It also gives an indication of how much the dividend yield could be. This ratio is not called an advanced ratio for … [Read more...]

To Cut or Not To Cut

By: Jay In Value Investing, you NEVER cut losses. If you have analysed the company and have determined that it is a good buy, and you bought it. If it goes down, you should be buying MORE of the stock. Since it is cheaper now. Well, that's provided everything is still the same since the time you did your analysis. But for most novice investors, including this blogger, our analysis is usually … [Read more...]

Of estimates and consensus thinking

By: Jay I attended an investment session where the instructor asked the class (of around 20 pple) to estimate the size of Thailand vs Singapore. Was it 50x bigger? Or 100x bigger? Or 500x or what? He wanted to prove a point. The true answer will lie in the range of everybody's estimate. Bcos someone was bound to get it right. Well his point was quite valid, in the end, the answer did lie … [Read more...]

The Efficient Market Revisited

By: Jay There has been a lot of debate since the 1950s whether markets are efficient or not. Btw, if you are asking what the heck is an Efficient Market, you can read this posts first. Label: Modern Portfolio Theory Ok Efficient Market. Essentially, some academics came out with this theory that nobody can earn a superior return than the market return (ie average investment return) over … [Read more...]

Barriers to Entry

By: Jay To determine whether a company has a business moat ie whether it can defend its turf when competitors come in, we look at what is called Barriers to Entry, one of Porter's 5 Forces. I have identified a few common barriers but I must point out that the list is not exhaustive. Other barriers exist and it takes experience and knowledge to identify them. Again, investing is about life-long … [Read more...]