Thursday, February 28, 2013

Poor People in Singapore

There are poor people in Singapore.  The poor are really poor and the rich are really rich.  And the divide is probably getting larger.  The median monthly household income from work amongst resident employed household for year 2012 was S$7,570.  This includes employer Central Provident Fund contributions.  Based on statistics, there are 9.2% of households with no working persons, of which, 6.0% of these are retiree households.

I have become more aware of the poor around us.  At least to me, I have been noticing that there are more and more people walking (or standing) around selling tissue papers.  Well, they are not really selling tissue papers are they?  Some of them just place the tissue papers on your table while you are eating and ask you for money.  They are almost literally begging for money.  The selling of tissue paper is just a "cover".  After all, begging is illegal in Singapore(?).

One also notices that there are people who are selling tissue papers outside supermarkets, grocery stores, etc.  Anybody in need of a tissue paper can easily pop into one of those stores to buy themselves all the tissue they need.  But yet, it is not uncommon to see people stopping to buy tissue paper from these poor people who peddle their wares.

It is also increasingly common to see homeless people sleeping around in the void decks or at various places in Singapore.  Well, these people might not be homeless.  But nobody really knows.  And nobody bothers to ask.

Just today, I witnessed a woman go up to some diners to ask for money to buy food.  It might come as a surprise to some but I have actually seen people eating left over food on the tables as well as from the dustbins.  Yes, we can dismiss them as perhaps mentally unsound.  But perhaps the reason is that they are really poor.

There is also this struggle within me about how to help the poor.  I struggle with it every now and then.  Surely change must begin with me.  But there are limits to how much I can do.  Or perhaps, these are just my excuses.




Make Their Wishes Come True

Dear Readers,

Have started a donation campaign to raise $10,000 for Make A Wish Foundation.  Make A Wish Foundation (Singapore).  The target is $10,000 to be achieved by the end of this year.

For those who might not know, make a wish foundation tries to fulfil the wishes of children who suffer from life-threatening medical conditions.  Think of what you can do just to put a smile on their faces.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog in one way or another, please make a little donation to support this worthy cause.  Any small amount, no matter how little, will do.

Thank you.




Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reasons to Buy Gold or Silver

Gold and silver seem to be back to their 2011 levels. iShare Silver Trust (SLV) is trading at $28.41 while SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is trading at $156.22.  Well, gold and silver spot price are also trading around $1600/oz and $29/oz respectively.  The talking heads at Bloomberg and CNBC are all now suggesting that it might be the end of the gold bull run.  After writing the earlier posting yesterday, I thought about it and decided that perhaps a more balanced view ought to be presented.

So in this posting, I will throw up some of the reasons to continue buying gold or silver.

Firstly, the world's central banks are now net buyers of gold, purchasing gold like never seen before.  According to the World Gold Council, central banks accounted for 12% of total demand for gold in 2012.  The demand for silver also seems to be rising and the supply does not seem to be able to keep up (at least that is what the silver bugs' charts are telling us).

Secondly, with all the money printing by the Feds, inflation is almost certain.  Gold and silver are thus a good hedge against inflation since many view them as the true store of value.  Many of these proponents are also predicting that the dollar will soon crash and that somehow, someday, the entire world will go back to the gold standard.

Thirdly,  while the prices of gold and silver might have corrected a fair bit for this year, the global outlook still looks uncertain.  The US debt is reaching alarming levels, Europe crisis, etc.  So it is not surprising that people are bullish on these 2 metals since they seem to have a negative correlation to the overall stock market/economy.

In any case, the people who argue for investing in gold or silver are still sticking to their guns that another bull run is in the making.  Will they be correct?

Gangnam Style - Jayesslee

This is another really cool version of Gangnam Style done by Jayesslee.  I believe that they are sisters.  Really nice and some what similar to the acoustic version of Gangnam Style done by Steph Micayle

 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The End of the Gold Bull Run?

Is this the end of the bull run for gold which has seen a meteoric rise over the past years.  Goldman Sachs has a 12 month forecast of $1,550/oz.  Gold has dropped 5 percent from the start of the year with investors like George Soros also cutting down his gold holdings.  Of course, one would be wise to heed the Warren Buffet's take on gold (even though it might be dated).  Many have also called gold the ultimate bubble while others are still quite bullish on this precious metal.  But with the US printing money with a vengeance, it is little wonder why many would want some kind of hedge against inflation.

Gold had hit an all-time high in Sept 2011 of slightly over $1920/oz.  Today, gold spot price is at $1597/oz.



Burger Taste Test : Beef or Horse

So the latest news on the horse meat scandal is that IKEA's meatballs have been implicated too.  Well, there is no idea yet whether Singapore has been affected.  Anyway, here is a burger taste test video.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Thierry Henry Returning to Arsenal

Thierry Henry looks like he could be returning to Arsenal for his third stint.  The Frenchman has a close relationship with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and is also Arsenal's all-time record goalscorer.  He has scored 226 goals during 1999 to 2007 and 2 goals during his loan spell from New York Red Bulls last season.

Henry's deal is set to expire soon and rumours seems to suggest that he could be set for a return to the Emirates.


Beatrice Miller - Titanium

A really nice Judge's House song by X Factor 2012 (USA) contestant, Beatrice Miller, who sang the song Titanium by David Guetta.  I liked her style and the of course the background of the judge's house.  Stunningly beautiful.




Well, if you like her voice, then be sure to check out her song that she performed with Carly Rose Sonenclar at Bootcamp.  Well, Carly Rose Sonenclar is another ultra talented girl with an amazing voice who can sing real well.  Check out her song at the judge's house as well as her audition song.

Quip.com

What is Quip.com? Well, Bret Taylor who used to be CTO for Facebook left the company last year and is currently the CEO of Quip.com.  And it is currently a stealth start-up because nobody knows what it is meant to do.

Taylor is working on this project together with a former Googler Kevin Gibbs. And they are not releasing any information on it yet.  So could this secretive project turn out to be the next Facebook or Google?

Well, details are certainly lacking at the moment.  Hitting quip.com in your url will just bring you to a google accounts login page.  And that does not tell much.  But some people are guessing that it could be something to do with editing of documents.

Well, a quip is to make a witty remark.  And it could also mean a joke.  So perhaps quip.com is something like Facebook and allows people to make witty remarks on webpages as they surf the net.  I am just trying to guess here.  But only time will tell.


Not Just Simply Bread

There are many places one can enjoy a nice, leisurely breakfast in Singapore.  And Simply Bread is perhaps one of those places.  Well, it doesn't just serve bread alone (as much as its name seems to suggest).  Simply Bread has two outlets.  One is at Guthrie House (located along 5th Avenue) and the other is at Cluny Court (just opposite the Botanical Gardens MRT station).


One item on the menu is the Two Eggs (choose how you like your eggs to be done - sunny side up, scrambled, omelette).  And of course, there are also the brunch plates like Honey Ham.



Check out my previous postings about Best Breakfast Places in Singapore and Best Breakfast Places in Singapore (Part 2).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sold Off Nam Cheong

I have been watching Nam Cheong keenly as I mentioned that it was one of the 3 stocks on my watchlist.  I wrote about Nam Cheong poised to breakout few weeks back. Have sold it off on Friday after having some small gains.  The charts still look positive (at least to me). But I am no longer vested in it since my target price has been reached.

Chart forNam Cheong (N4E.SI)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sold Off Citigroup

I sold off my entire stake in Citigroup at a price of around US$44.11 last week.  My average entry price for the stock was US$37.00.  After some thought,  I decided that the target price for Citigroup was not an event worth waiting for given that the profits would be marginal..

At first glance, it would seem that I should have made quite a tidy profit on Citigroup.  But after examining it closer, the profits that I made were really peanuts.  And this is largely due to the exchange rates.

Basically, I bought Citigroup when the USD (US dollar) to SGD (Singapore dollar) was around 1:1.4.  The US dollar has however weakened significantly over the course of the years.  So based on the exchange rate today, my profits were almost wiped out.  You can take a look at the chart below to see how the USD has weakened significantly against the Singapore dollar.

Chart forUSD/SGD (USDSGD=X)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Man Stuck in Elevator for 40 Hours

In 1999, a man was stuck for close to 40 hours in an elevator.  This time lapse video shows how he spent those 40 hours.  Perhaps this was the time before hand phones became prevalent so he did not have one on him.


Debt Free!

So I sat down and worked out the numbers.  Added up all my cash and liquid assets (i.e. stocks & unit trusts).  Looking at the number,  I suddenly realised its meaning.  The number I was looking at was larger than the outstanding loans and debts that I have.  In other words, if I were to liquidate all my shareholdings today and add that to the cash that is sitting around in the family's bank accounts, I will have sufficient money to pay off all my debts (e.g. housing loan, etc) right here, right now, with some cash left to spare.  That means I can become debt free!!!!  

This was perhaps never really a surprise to me.  I sort of knew that God had blessed me with many good things.  For one, I have enjoyed good health in my adult working life and was able to work almost continuously despite some job switches here and there.  I am also a saver as I do not spend on unnecessary things.  I eat at restaurants and stuff.  But that is about all that I spend on.  In my early years, I also managed to save quite a fair bit of money.  God also has blessed me with some positive returns on my investments. So I sort of knew that I would become debt free much earlier than most people.

And yet, the realisation that I can be debt free does not necessarily mean that I want to be debt free right now.  Having the money to pay off all my debts does not mean that I should go ahead and do so.  After all, interest rates are very low here in Singapore.  But then again, there is this difference between bad debt and good debt.

So the decision has come. Should I pay off all my loans and become debt free?  Or should I continue to hold on to my debt and carry on investing?  Decisions, decisions...


Anyway, to celebrate the occasion, I open a bottle of Hoegaarden (which reads original belgian wheat beer) to celebrate.  And the next thing I do is to log into blogger to type this post and schedule it for publishing.




Straits Times Index (STI) hits 5 Year High

So the Straits Times Index (STI) has hit its 5 year high of 3,301 points. Of course, it still has not reached its peak in Oct 2007 of 3,805 points. Will we even see such dizzying heights for the Singapore stock market again.

Well, nobody really knows the answer for sure.  But with the US debt ceiling, Euro crisis and all other things that can happen along the way, one should continue to remain nimble.

A good question to ask yourself is this:  How much more gains can you make in this bull run?

Chart forSTRAITS TIMES INDEX (^STI)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sold Thakral and Saizen

After giving some thought, I decided to sell off my holdings in Thakral and Saizen.  I bought these together with Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust back in November 2012.  You can see that posting I did here.

These are my entry prices and exit prices for the 3 stocks:
  1.  Saizen (Entry=S$0.173; Exit = S$0.191)
  2. Thakral Corp (Entry=S$0.03; Exist = S$0.035)
  3. LMIR (Entry = $0.475; Exit = S$0.525)
There is really nothing to boast about my entry and exit prices.  I am not a good market timer but generally, when the stock market goes up, almost every single stock goes up.  So there is really nothing spectacular about my returns.  

I know some of my previous posts about Thakral and Saizen might have been misleading as I was actually still thinking of loading up some more stocks yesterday and had written the posts earlier but scheduled it to be posted much later.  However, after re-assessing my overall portfolio, I decided to liquidate more of my shareholdings so as to buffer up my cash position.

If you read my posting about "Bull Market or Prepare for Bear" as well as watched the video on Jeffrey Gundlach's market outlook, you will probably understand my rationale for selling.  As they say, "Cash is King".

Saizen REIT - Dividends Declared But What Lies Ahead

So Saizen REIT has declared a half yearly distribution of 0.66 cents.  Based on its share price of 19 cents, it gives a pretty good yield of close to 7%.  Yes, this is a pretty high yield compared to other REITs listed on the Singapore stock exchange.  You probably can't find yields like those in the US stock market too unless they are mortgage REITs.

Anyway, if you read one of my previous posts, you should know that Saizen is on my watchlist.  (Okay, it is actually already in my stock portfolio but I am watching it to see if I should buy more).

Found this good video on Saizen.  Any investor who wants to invest in Saizen should watch this video first as it gives a good overview of Saizen and its business and also explains why it probably trades at a discount to its net asset value.  Here Mark Laudi interviews Raymond Wong (Executive Director at Saizen REIT).  He asks him some tough questions that any investor should be asking.

Let me know what you all think about Saizen REIT..


Amy Winehouse - I'm No Good

I love this live version of I'm No Good that was sung by the late Amy Winehouse.  Really has soul and there is something about her that makes her different from other singers.  She is perhaps a true blue entertainer.



Unfortunately, her life ended while she was probably at the peak (or what could have possibly been the peak) of her career.  If not for her dabbling in drugs.  The video below is a sad reminder:  If only she had gone to rehab.

Thakral Corporation Chart

I have bought and sold Thakral at various times since I started investing.  Few months back, I entered into Thakral at S$0.03.  Now that the price has risen to S$0.035, perhaps it is time for me to take profit?  Including the dividends that were paid out, it is a tidy sum of money.

Chart forThakral Corporation Ltd. (T04.SI)

Outlook for 2013: Recap and Stock Take

This is a look at the various stocks that were previous listed in one of my previous postings on investment outlook and stock picks for 2013.

Most of the stocks have risen except for CMT, City Developments and UOB.


Closing Price on 31 Dec 2012  Closing Price on 8 Feb 2013
Biosensors $1.205 $1.330
CMT $2.130 $2.130
CMA $1.940 $2.100
City Developments $12.870 $11.460
DBS $14.840 $14.980
Ezion Holdings $1.690 $1.805
Keppel Corp $11.000 $11.530
M1 $2.710 $2.740
SembCorp Marine $4.600 $4.670
Starhill Global REIT $0.785 $0.850
UOB $19.810 $19.040
Venture Corp $8.060 $8.480
Capitaland $3.700 $3.860
SIA Engineering Company $4.390 $4.740
Pan United $0.775 $0.975

Beatrice Miller and Carly Rose Sonenclar at Bootcamp

Beatrice Miller and Carly Rose Sonenclar's performance at Bootcamp X Factor USA 2012.  Both girls are really talented if you ask me.  The song might actually have suited Beatrice's voice better though I think Carly sang it quite well too.


She's Possessed - Quote by will.I.am

After a very good audition, Carly Rose Sonenclar performs at the judges house in front of Britney Spears and will.I.am.  Her rendition of Karmin's Brokenhearted is priceless.  Best X Factor video in my opinion thus far.

 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meet Carly Rose Sonenclar - Girl with An Amazing Voice

Okay, this is sort of dated but I just discovered this youtube video of Carly Rose Sonenclar's audition at the US X Factor 2012 Auditions.  For a 13 year old girl, I can only say that she is incredibly talented and has an amazing voice.  Of course, the folks over at UK will probably still think that James Arthur is the best. =)


Citigroup Target Price

Bought Citigroup some time back and with the recent bullish run in the stock market, I am just re-visiting this stock to see whether it is time to unload it off my portfolio.Citigroup was previously trading at less than US$4 during the financial crisis.  There was a subsequent 10:1 stock consolidation which explains the high price now.  

The charts look bullish with the price being above the 200-day moving average line.  I am not good at technical analysis but it seems that the trend is still bullish.  

My target price for Citigroup is US$48.00.  Vested interest.

Chart forCitigroup, Inc. (C)


3 Stocks on My Watchlist

With the STI trading near 15 Price-Earnings ratio, one really has to be nimble and keep a lookout for good quality stocks that are undervalued.  And that is a difficult task given that many of the stocks are already trading at their 52 week highs.  Nevertheless, here are 3 stocks that are currently on my watchlist.

1.  Saizen REIT (Listed on Singapore Stock Exchange)

Saizen REIT has been slowly rising.  It just declared a healthy half-yearly distribution of 0.66 Singapore cents which makes its yield slightly below 7%.  Of course, there is the currency risk of the Japanese Yen being further devalued with the current Government's stance to make their exports more competitive.  Nevertheless, I have vested interest in this stock. Saizen last closed at S$0.19.

Chart forSaizen Real Estate Investment Trust (DZ8U.SI)


2.  Global Premium Hotels (Listed on Singapore Stock Exchange)

Global Premium Hotels just had its initial public offering at S$0.26.  The stock price has been fluctuating below its IPO price for the past few weeks but has recently risen above its IPO price.  Certain analysts have a price target of S$0.30 for this stock. They expect the Fragrance hotels to continue to do well given its market share and experience in the business.  Of course, billionaire Koh Wee Meng has been buying his own shares too, showing that he is confident in the company.  I am not currently vested in this stock.

3.  Nam Cheong (Listed on Singapore Stock Exchange)

I have bought into Nam Cheong at 26 Singapore cents.  My gut feel is that Nam Cheong is poised to break out.  But I could of course be wrong given my very bad sense of market timing.  Have taken a small position in this stock and well sell it once the price is right.  Nam Cheong's business is doing well.  They sold 21 ships in the year 2012 and have just issued equity to continue to expand their business.




Fail - Are Your Ready for BN? No!

In a recent BN rally, PM Najib psychs the crowd up who are there to watch Psy perform Gangnam Style. He asks the crowd whether they are ready to watch Psy and there is an overwhelming "Yes!".  But when he asks the crowd whether they are ready for Barisan National (BN) for the upcoming election, he doesn't quite get the answer he was expecting. Watch to see what happens.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI To Resign on 28 Feb, Cites Health

Pope Benedict XVI (age 85) has announced that he will be resigning on 28 Feb as leader of the world's Catholics.  He will be the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.  Making his announcement in Latin during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, he cited ill health stating that carrying out the duties of the pope required "both strength of mind and body".

The pope was number #5 in Forbes most powerful people list for 2012.  His sudden announcement is almost certain to plunge the entire Catholic world into a crazed speculation on who will most likely be the next pope to succeed him.

James Arthur Rendition of Tulisa's Young - X Factor UK 2012 Audition



James Arthur is the winner of X Factor UK 2012.  This is a video of this audition song where he sang an acoustic version of Tulisa's Young.  In my opinion, his acoustic/rap version is much better than the original version.  (Check out other top ten X Factor audition videos here)

Mentored under Nicole Sherzinger, James Arthur made it against the odds to emerge the winner. During the show, he lost his girlfriend but is now rumoured to be dating Caroline Flack (X Factor host).

If you love this acoustic version of the song, check out this acoustic version of Gangnam Style too.



Nam Cheong - Poised to Breakout?

Have been liquidating many of my stocks and entered into short term trading positions. Nam Cheong is one of those stocks that I entered into. I have a target price of 30 cents for this stock.

From a TA point of view,  the stock also looks like it can move higher. Nam Cheong last closed at 25 cents..  Its IPO price was 21 cents.

Nam Cheong has seen its orders rising and prides itself as the leading builder in Malaysia of OSVs.

Chart forNam Cheong (N4E.SI)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bull Market or Prepare for the Bear?

So stock prices are reaching dizzy heights once more with positive news coming out of the US.  But there are still dark clouds hanging overhead.  The debt ceiling and euro crisis are just some of the larger issues that has not been settled. Heard about the news of Germany intending to bring back its gold from US back to its own country?

The STI is now around 3,291.  That is almost close to the pre-financial crisis levels.  And what good news is there to push the stock market up higher?  Are we in a late bull run or is this going to be start of the bear market soon?.    

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