The Force Awakens: Thoughts and Takeaways

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened last weekend and smashed all box office records. This episode, #7 in the franchise, will likely make USD 1-2bn in the cinemas alone. When Disney bought Star Wars for USD 4bn in 2012, everyone thought they were stupid. Why pay so much to George Lucas who did a crap job trying to do the prequels (Episode #1-3)? Also how can a 30 year old slapstick sci-fi saga be … [Read more...]

The Thing About Prediction

A recent book titled Superforecasters is making waves in the financial circle as expected. The book proposed that it is possible to predict the future, if a good team was in place, with teammates coming from very varied backgrounds and good training. Coincidentally, there had been a few occasions on this website where we discussed prediction and its ultimate futility. Today, we try to marry these … [Read more...]

Pay Up for High ROIC! (Part 2)

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Do read from the first post. So does it make sense to pay 20x for 20% ROIC? The answer is YES! In fact, as a rule of thumb in Singapore's investment circle, we should pay one multiple point for 1% of ROIC. So if it's 20% ROIC, we can pay up to 20x and still get a good return. If it's 30% ROIC, then it's 30x. Here's the same table from the previous post showing a 15% ROIC business, let's call it … [Read more...]

Pay Up for High ROIC! (Part 1)

In financial math, high ROIC or return on invested capital can justify almost any PE to buy. This is what this post strives to illustrate. Do read on, it's really important! Promise you won't waste your time. Invested capital simply accounts for all the capital that businesses need: equity and debt. ROE which stands for return on equity, does not take into account of debt. In the financial world, … [Read more...]

Invert, always invert

This is a quote originally from Carl Jacobi, a German mathematician but has now been attributed to Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman at Berkshire Hathaway, investing partner alongside Warren Buffett. Munger used this phrase so many times in so many of his books that value investing students would have to come across it sooner or later.   Inversion is a technique used widely in math to solve problems … [Read more...]

Cooling Off Day Post

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While the global stock markets rocked in choppy waves of unprecedented volatility in the last two weeks, Singaporean investors were probably busy following the campaigns of the current elections. This round to me seemed less interesting vs the previous cycles where we saw various tumultuous sagas involving CCTVs, sweet young things vs sweet young things, Dr Chee shouting at PM Goh like a gangster, … [Read more...]

This is just the beginning…

Market participants rode through one of the scariest financial roller-coasters in the past two weeks. In Singapore some stocks were down 7-8% in a single day, cumulatively losing 15-20% in one week. In the US, things were even more dramatic, some stocks when through 20% intra-day swings. Then today everything bounced, as if nothing happened. It was really quite unsettling. Most of us would be … [Read more...]

All-in costs, breakeven costs, cash costs

Analysts of deep cyclicals, industrials, commodities would be very familiar with these terms. These terms are invented by the financial industry to try to help analysts analyze real businesses from their desktops, in plush offices, hundreds or thousands of miles away from where the businesses actually took place. It bears little resemblance of how real ops managers actually thought about their … [Read more...]

Grexit? THIS IS SPARTA!!!!

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Five years and 3 bailouts later, it's amazing that the leaders in Europe haven't made any progress in this long and painful odyssey of pulling Greece out from hell. Everyone had their fair share of blame. The latest instalment this year from May-Jul 2015 started with Alexis Tsipras, the Greek PM who thought that he was King Leonidas, went to the negotiating table with the European Union  (EU) … [Read more...]

Checklist for buying stocks – IMPORTANT!

Just finished reading "Education of a Value Investor" by Guy Spier. A short and informative narrative by a value investor about his own journey. I found it really useful and would like to incorporate a few key lessons from what I have read. We all know the importance of checklists, pilots and surgeons use them, so should investors. Charlie Munger had said it years ago that all prudent investors … [Read more...]

Jardine C&C Rights Issue!

Jardine Cycle and Carriage (JCNC) announced a surprised SGD billion dollar rights issue a week ago. Well given how the stock has declined a month before, I guess it wasn't a surprise to some insiders. Now that the cat is out of the bag, it's time to do a quick and dirty analysis on this blue blue chip.   For the un-initiated, JCNC is probably most well-known in Singapore being associated as the … [Read more...]

China A shares: Mistake turned Multi-Bagger

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A long time ago, in blog posts far away, we discussed the merits and demerits of ETFs. It was around the earlier posts that time (2009 and 2010) that I bought into the China A share ETF thinking that buying into the country that would conquer the 21st Century made sense. As it turned out, it didn't. The only ETF that one should buy is the S&P 500. ETFs, by and large, did not help investors … [Read more...]

2015 High Dividend Stocks in Singapore and Global! (Part 2)

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2015 High Dividend Stocks (39-57) The third part of this year's list produced a few interesting names. Let's look at the global firms. These are household names that are likely suitable candidates for long term portfolios: Pearson, General Electric, Caterpillar, Siemens, Coach, Kimberly Clark etc. All strong companies with proven track record now looking reasonably priced at 3-3.7% dividend … [Read more...]

2015 High Dividend Stocks in Singapore and Global! (Part 1)

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It's time for the annual dividend stock list! For this year, we have included the global major markets in the universe to spice things up a little. We already know all the good Singapore names: SIA Engineering, CSE, M1. The value add and effort of using this screen to find another good gem in Singapore really doesn't pay off as well after years screening and more years of research. So we cast a … [Read more...]

Tribute to Singapore’s Titan: Lee Kuan Yew

To me, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Keng Swee were the best political duos the world had ever seen. Our two Titans who shared tremendous intellect and common goals. They started with bold ideals to provide for the people, then went on to build a nation from scratch, from a kampung to a global hub, from third world to first. They are true heros. I wrote with intensity for Dr Goh five years ago. Mr Lee … [Read more...]

CNY Post – Business Moats. Must Read!

Investing is about finding discounts (or margin of safety). The discount is the difference between the intrinsic value of the company, and the current stock price. Intrinsic values of companies do not change daily. Good companies can grow or compound their value. Bad firms destroy value. So the trick is to find good companies, and buy them cheap or at a fair price. They only get really cheap … [Read more...]

Genting’s Management and Financials

Geez 2015 came and the first month is ending! Time and tide really waits for no man. In investing, time helps in compounding, and we just have to keep reminding ourselves that we need to act early and incrementally while we are young. Because, if we don't, before we know it, we are 40, or 50 and the first half is gone and we are into half-time. Need to think quickly how we want to play the second … [Read more...]

Happy New Year! First Post of the 2015: Think Long Term

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Happy New Year folks, it's a new year and a new start. This is a short post just to illustrate a simple point: Think Long Term. The effects of good habits and efforts show up over time. This is true for both stocks and our own personal development. Here's two charts to illustrate this point. Long term stock price chart for Jardine C&C The chart above shows the 14 year price chart for … [Read more...]

Herbalife Dying – Part 2

This post continues from Part 1.So what's so bad about Herbalife? Obviously not every Nutrition Club is gonna make money and not everyone would benefit from nutrition drinks. Isn't it a case of buyers beware? I guess every argument can always be framed on a spectrum. On one hand, Herbalife gives everyone an opportunity to become financially free, and while they are at it, drink lots of overpriced … [Read more...]

Herbalife Dying – Part 1

We have to digress from Genting a bit given that this story is probably worth telling. We shall get back to Genting soon, hopefully the stock stays low! Ok, Herbalife, as most people would know, is an MLM scheme. MLM stand for multi-level marketing which is a legalized form of pyramid or ponzi scheme. We shall get into this in more detail later. Back to Herbalife. Herbalife sells some nutrition … [Read more...]