Author: Unintelligent Nerd

Using DeadMalls.com to assess the state of US retail REITs

Retail REITs are an interesting bunch. Besides analyzing the REIT’s financial statements, unitholders and potential unitholders could also consider heading down to the properties to observe first-hand how the REIT is faring. Is the mall thriving? How is the traffic like? How is the ambiance? For the Singaporean investor interested in some of the retail S-REITs, getting answers to such questions is fairly straightforward: Vested in CapitaLand Mall Trust? You could visit Plaza Singapura (and many others). What about Frasers Centrepoint Trust? Head down to Causeway Point (and many others). Starhill Global? Go to Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann...

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Consumer Staples: Yummy, but could be yummier

On-and-off, I have been monitoring the US consumer staples sector. This sector has been going nowhere but up, denying me opportunities to create meaningful positions in this sector. Well, it looks like things are finally changing. Let’s just stop to smell the flowers. Amaranthine beauties don’t bloom everyday, ya know? (Pun intended). It is good to keep myself occupied with both work and school work. That way, my itchy fingers wouldn’t meddle with stuff that’s not meant to be touched. So, what’s with the consumer staples sector? Popular explanations include the fear of Amazon extending its tendrils into the...

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Of sweet potatoes and tapiocas: what the young has not experienced

My grandmother lived through the Japanese Occupation. During that time, life was difficult and food was scarce. What is taken for granted today, such as meat products, were a luxury in those times of trials. To subsist, my grandmother relied on the lowly sweet potatoes and tapiocas. It is not much, but it could keep the hunger pangs away for another couple of hours. Come lunch or dinner, she is greeted with the same source of nourishment. From a third-person perspective, these situations evoked a reflective response in me. First, there is a sense of gratitude and thankfulness for...

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Considering the possibility of retrenchment: its potential impact and my response

Well, well, what do ya know? Reporting season is upon us and my superiors have to report to top management as to whether our research KPIs have been met. From the topic title, you could probably guess that my team failed to hit their KPIs. Data collection has been abysmally slow and, without data and research findings, research funding may get cut. When one of my bosses, let’s call her Dr Janice (not her real name), implied the above, my fellow colleagues were in shock. Me? I was strangely calm. It was not until Dr Janice left the office...

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Kadenze: the "Coursera" for creative professionals

While searching for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) the other day, I got a pleasant surprise when I came across Kadenze. According to its website, Kadenze is a MOOC provider that is geared towards Technology and the Arts. What’s more interesting (to me at least) is that Kadenze offers a module on Deep Learning. Apart from Udacity’s offering on Deep Learning, I know not of any other MOOC providers who offer courses delving into said subject. There are other courses on machine learning and data mining as well, just that it is contextualized to the arts field. Soooooooo, what...

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Recognizing and seizing opportunities

Not too long ago, I came to learn of yet another individual from my field starting a statistics tutoring business. I have toyed with the idea before. After all, quite a huge proportion of people from my field of social science are absolutely terrified of statistics. Some of them have even shared with me that their choice of major was predicated on the fact that the fields of arts, social sciences, and humanities lacked mathematics (and concomitantly, its sister subject, statistics). Well, their hopes were dashed since statistics is a course requirement. :P Come assignment/thesis-submission and statistics exam time,...

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Yahoo Finance API discontinued

Not too long after I wrote my R script to automate the computation of Spearman’s correlation of stock counters (see here), the script failed to work. A real bummer indeed. To cut to the chase, the underlying import function from Quantmod was down. As expected, the Quantmod package developer received a flurry of questions from disgruntled users who were also unable to import the historical stock data from Yahoo Finance into R for data processing. Well, it wasn’t the developer’s fault. Apparently, Yahoo Finance stealthily decided to discontinue the data importing functionality for no rhyme or reason. For those...

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Correlations among the Fraser family members using R

So I’ve been fiddling around with R over the weekends. R is both the name of a programming language and an open-source software which is used for statistical computing. I’m using R in the workplace and it comes equipped with a full suite of packages for various kinds of data manipulation/analysis/etc. Not too long ago, I wondered whether could R be used for investing-related purposes. True enough, there was a package known as quantmod which would be a treasure trove for traders. After some fiddling around, what I liked about quantmod is its ease in importing data from various financial sources...

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A colleague’s financial woes

Recently, a colleague of mine has been experiencing an increased amount of financial stress in his life. He is going to get married soon, have to pay the down payment for his flat, and commence paying the monthly installments like all budding home owners. Besides the looming mountain of debt, he also has to service a whole life policy a “friend” sold him. Having read up a little on insurance after purchasing the whole life policy, he realized he got a sucker’s deal. He is hesitant to terminate the policy as he would not get back the full value...

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The newest con artist on the block

I’m still feeling pretty angry over an episode that happened earlier today. I was out with my mum for a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood and she was approached by an individual who possessed certain characteristics that evoked pity. At first, said individual offered some “products” to her, citing that it is for “charity.” According to the individual, these products are “free”; the recipient is given the freedom to decide whether they would want to give a token amount to said individual. Despite my mum’s reluctance, said individual forced the products on my mum’s hands. My mum tried to...

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Q1 2017 Portfolio Update

Time flies. With a blink of an eye, the first quarter of 2017 has ended. How has my portfolio fared for the first three months of 2017? Decently, I guess? I think I should let the two charts do the talking. At one glance, Q1 2017 seems waaaaayyy horrible than Q1 2016. The huge bump in dividend in Q1 2016 was attributed to Saizen REIT. Portfolio-wise, I have been decreasing my reliance on REITs for income. I have initiated new non-REIT positions to reduce the proportion that REITs play in my portfolio. In fact, there is a slight departure...

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History of Cash Calls for REITs (Updated as at 19 March 2017)

Wow. Time flies. It has been 7 months since I posted a list detailing the history of cash calls for REITs. I have just done an update to the list: 1). Added in new cash calls that happened within this period 2). Rearranged the list by alphabetical order 3). Added in past private placements which I have missed out 4). Created a page/tab to contain the information *points above* (or click here if you are using your mobile and am unable to view the page/tab) From this point forward, any changes to the list will be reflected in that...

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Correction: POSB Invest-Saver’s monthly contribution amount can be readily tweaked!

Apparently the POSB staff made a boo boo. In my post on Optimizing my POSB Invest-Saver Plan, I shared that changes to the monthly investment amount only takes effect on the next next month. This information was provided to me by the POSB staff. However, a few days later……. The following screenshot from my iBanking account shows otherwise. This is good news. I can now “optimize” my indexing. There’s another point to be noted though. On the night itself (9 March 2017) when I made the change in contribution amount from $200/month to $100/month, the monthly contribution amount is...

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Changes to Travel Smart Rewards

I received an email notification from Travel Smart Rewards today. For existing Travel Smart users, do take note of the following: Travel Smart Rewards will be transformed soon! In 1 April 2017, a new Travel Smart Rewards will be launched on a refreshed portal with new features and games. As an existing user, you will be automatically transferred to the new system. All you need to do is to update your personal details, and we will reward you with additional perks. A personalised link to update your details will be sent to your existing email address next month. For...

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Optimizing my POSB Invest-Saver Plan

I started out my investing journey in March 2015. Back then, I was very much influenced by the works of commercial financial bloggers. “Buy STI ETF” they say. “You sure can’t go wrong with this. 8% returns per annum! Furthermore, you get instant diversification with 30 brand name counters which everyone knows!” Books I read seemed to lend credence to this sentiment. After further research and being marginally aware of the drawbacks of passive indexing, I started plonking down $200 each month into the POSB Invest-Saver Plan. Fast forward to now. The economy is not good and yet the...

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