Friday, July 31, 2009

Turtle Portfolio Update - August 2009

(Click on the table to view the results)

No major comments this month. Just added $ 888 saving for the month of August 2009. Nothing very sexy about my Turtle portfolio, just the same boring $ 888 saving every month, just buy at the regular interval for some boring stocks. You must be wondering why sometimes we pay so much money to fund managers, when we can do DIY investing, right?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Exclusive for traders only

Today's post is for traders only. There was a huge Shanghai Composite Index declined yesterday - 5%!. It was obviously that the traders were leaving their marks on the bloody scene. There was a huge downside gap from 3,300 to 3,100 plus sometime in June 2008, a huge fear factor. Now the market is going back to face the same fear, if they can clear this fear, My Lord, they will feel that they are invincible - the Chinese dragons will come out from the cage. Will they go back to 5,000 - 6,000 ? Nobody knows, play at your own risks.

We used to pay attention to the US markets but now China is playing a very important role, when China market sneezes, the rest of the world will catch a cold. Take a look at this chart my friend.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tell me when to worry and when not to worry please

NEW YORK, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The dollar rebounded against most major currencies on Tuesday as U.S. consumer confidence fell in July.

The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell for the second consecutive month by 2.7 points to 46.6 in July. The July level was 8.2 points down from the recent peak in May, and worse than expected.

The sub-indexes measuring consumer's confidence in the present economic situation and the expectations both dropped. Buying intentions continued to slide downwards, analysts said.

U.S. consumer confidence has improved since January, but the index is still on very low level relative historic averages. Analysts expected that a weak labor market with high unemployment rate will continue restraining the recovery of consumer spending.

U.S. single-family home prices in the largest 20 metropolitan areas rose by 0.5 percent in May from April, according to Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller home price indexes released on Tuesday.

It was the first monthly increase in nearly three years, suggesting home prices may be stabilizing. But the report failed to lift market sentiment which was hurt by the consumer confidence index.

The euro bought 1.4177 dollars in late New York trading compared with 1.4243 dollars it bought late Monday. The pound fell to 1.6439 dollars from 1.6498 dollars.

The dollar rose to 1.0823 Canadian dollars from 1.0804 Canadian dollars, and rose to 1.0746 Swiss francs from 1.0698 Swiss francs. It fell to 94.48 Japanese yen from 95.24
A lot of people take profit very quickly telling others that there is a commodity and stock market bubble, weak consumer confidence index means they will not be spending and etc. Worry = fear not equal to collapse. But high consumer confidence index = greed = hubris = collapse.

If you look at this chart you know what I mean. Consumer confidence index hit 150 before bust. The housing bubble already busted in 2006 but it remains very elevated of over 100 for a while. Elevated level that will make me nervous and not at the lowest point.

To have 11 days market winning stretch is something unusually, 8 - 9 days are normal and follow by 2 - 3 days down. So, am I getting worried? Not yet.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Need for capex funds will drive Maxis to relist?

(The Star) PETALING JAYA: A need to raise funds for capital expenditure (capex), especially for operations in India, will drive Maxis Communications Bhd to relist on the local stock market, analysts said.

But the company may also want to wait for a stronger recovery in capital markets before relisting, they said.

ECM Libra Research said if Maxis were to be relisted in the near term, the major driving factor would be the need for funding due to high capex requirements for its 74%-owned Indian subsidiary, Aircel.

Maxis had said in March it was planning to invest US$5bil in Aircel over the next three to five years to accelerate its cellular coverage expansion in India.

As Maxis is private, there is no data on its most recent earnings per share (EPS).

Maxis’ last reported EPS was 84 sen/share in financial year ended December 2006 (FY06). Assuming that Maxis had achieved growth of 8% per annum, “this implies that Maxis’ FY09 EPS is RM1.06 per share,” according to ECM Libra.

And ascribing Axiata’s average FY09 price to earnings (PE) multiple of 16 to 19 times, Maxis could possibly be relisted at a market capitalisation of RM40bil to RM50bil, assuming a similar share base as before, the research house said.

Maxis’ market capitalisation was about RM40bil when it was taken private in 2007.

OSK Research said Maxis’ major shareholders would have to address some key issues and challenges before its relisting exercise.

“Most notable is the decision as to whether Maxis should be floated as a clean entity comprising solely its Malaysian operations,” said an analyst from the research house.

OSK Research told clients in a note that Maxis’ overseas assets in India and Indonesia, Aircel and 49%-owned PT Natrindo Seluler, were at various start-up and expansion phases, which would be a drag on the listed entity given their significant funding needs.

My comments: It was under-appreciated that led Ananda to take it private. It is also because of multiple businesses that need cash stretching their balance sheet that led them to turn to private funds, thinking that they are more patient. Breaking up the business and list it in overseas(to raise fund) will make more sense unless Ananda and other "share-owners" are really behaving like owners and pay no attention to how the market will value their company. Listing to boost liquidity is not a strong argument.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Study of bull markets

(click on the table to enlarge)

As many of you know that this blog was born during one of the worst bear markets. Many called for the return of the Great Depression II. I posted a piece of the study of the US bear markets in February 2008@ I was raising a question, in one of my earliest write up, whether the market has more rooms to fall. The market did fall very badly but it was too bad that I fired two shorts too early.

Now it's time that I raise a question based on a study of bull markets. The most common definition of a bull market is + 20% from a low. The current S & P at 979 over qualified to meet this definition but this is not important. The important question is how long can the market run?

Looking at past data, the shortest bull run lasted only 3 months, the longest lasted 10 years. If either one of these is too extreme to you, the middle ground is 3.9 years.

I am no statistician, common sense taught me to look for anomaly so that we can look at the numbers more intelligently. The anomaly of these short bull runs are coming from the Great Depression period. I think the volatilities have got to do with the wrong policies by the authorities.

From the low of March 09, 2009 -- we are already close to about 4.6 months from the low -- so I don't feel like we will get into 3 - 7 months kind of bull run. It got to be longer.

I said earlier that I will see the bears in 2012 -- which I think it is more like 24 - 36 months (from March 2009) kind of bull run. However as I said in one of my posts, the most important factor is depending on whether the authorities are getting too concerns with inflation too early. Click on this link if you want to refresh your memory.

If they are too concerns with inflation too early, then I think there is a high chance that the bull run will be interrupted. However, listening to uncle Ben's recent speech and if he is re-elected, I think he will keep everyone knows that he is not too concerns with inflation yet. I think he understood well of the mistakes of 1937-1938.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Treasurys reversed early losses and moved sharply higher for a second day in a row Tuesday as investors took comfort in remarks from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that inflation will remain low.

In his semiannual address to Congress, Bernanke assured investors and members of the House Financial Services Committee that the central bank will be able to exit its economic stimulus programs and ward off inflation as the economy becomes more stable.

Bernanke said Fed officials expect inflation to be somewhat lower this year than in recent years, and that most expect it to remain subdued over the next two years. Inflation hurts Treasurys because it chips away at the value of their fixed returns over time.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Message to Bearish Guys

Ouuuuuuch! It must be hurt. Bears trumped by bulls. Bearish guys need to be very careful as the trend players are coming out to play.

Dow Theory guys had declared wars on July 23,09. Let me remind you again the consequence of going against the trend -- best described by this picture.

Dow Jones Transportation and Industrials have breakouts. The very significant breakthrough was actually Dow Jones Transportation broke out from its triple top which is a very heavy resistance. While I am bullish but I want to remind everyone that I have entered positions at much lower level. Secondly, we have entered a trading zones. So be careful of the context of my posting.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Koon Yew Yin: The Great Malaysian Brain Drain

Many Malaysians are expressing their unhappiness over many issues. Their unhappiness are being expressed in a few ways:

a. Giving up their citizenship and migrate to some where else.

b. Staying back and do nothing.

c. Staying back and do something.

I admire those who have chosen option c. Here is an example.

JULY 11 – There is a boy I know who scored 10 A1s. His mother is a primary school teacher and Andrew has two younger brothers. His father, a civil servant, had already passed on by the time the son sat SPM in 2006.

Armed with his excellent result, Andrew applied for a scholarship to study mechanical engineering. The government rejected his application. Petronas rejected his application too. Can you imagine how disappointed and frustrated he was?

As soon as I learned of Andrew’s difficulty, I offered him financial assistance to do accountancy in Utar. He has been scoring top marks in every exam to earn a scholarship from the university. Although Andrew is now exempted from paying fees, I still bank him RM400 a month to cover cost of living.

I have given assistance and allowances to more than 40 poor students to study in Utar in Kampar, Perak. Andrew is typical of their calibre; he prefers to get what is his due on merit, and his university has seen fit to waive his fees.

On my part, I expect nothing from those that I’ve supported except for them in future to help young people in similar circumstances, and to hope that they will all stay back in Malaysia so that they can lend their talents to building up our nation.

There are others with deeper pockets who have extended a helping hand to our youngsters. One of them offers the cost of school and exam fees, hostel accommodation, RM5,800 a year for expenses, RM1,200 settling-in allowance, and transport/air ticket. Furthermore, the recipient is not bonded. In other words, the giver asks for nothing back.

I’m talking about the pre-university Asean scholarship extended to Malaysians by ‘the little red dot’ Singapore.

Of course, Singapore is not doing it for purely altruistic reasons. The country is giving these much coveted Asean scholarships to build up her national bank of talent.

Some Malaysians accuse them of ‘poaching’ the creme de la creme of our youngsters. I don’t look at it as poaching. Their far-sighted government is doing it in their national interest.

And why not? Singapore can afford it. It has three times our GDP per capita. On another comparative note, the GDP per capita of Taiwan and South Korea are 2.5 times and double ours respectively. Before the NEP’s introduction in 1970, the four countries were at parity.

The big question is why are we surrendering our assets which Malaysian parents have nurtured but the state neglected?

Tens of thousands of young Malaysians have left our shores on the Asean scholarship. I am not sure if Singapore is willing to give out the figure.

But I am pretty sure the Malaysian authorities do not give two hoots about this, whatever number they may have arrived at. If they do, there seems to be no policy change to stem the outflow.

Malaysia is optimistically indifferent to the continuous brain drain, little caring that it is detrimental to our aspiration of becoming a developed country (I hate to say this) like Singapore.

Behaving like a failed state

Consider this startling statistic: There are more Sierra Leonean doctors working in hospitals in the city of Chicago than in their own homeland. More Malawian nurses in Manchester than in Malawi. Africa’s most significant export to Europe and the United States is trained professionals, not petroleum, gold and diamond.

The educated African migration is definitely retarding the progress of every country in Africa. Today, one in three African university graduates, and 50,000 doctoral holders now live and work outside Africa. Sixty-four per cent of Nigerians in the USA has one or more university degrees.

If we carry out a study, we are likely to find a very large number of non-Malay graduates emigrating to Singapore, Australia and other countries that is proportionately similar to the African exodus.

However the compulsion is different, seeing as how some African countries are war-torn and famished, which is certainly not the case with Malaysia.

The push factors for our own brain drain lie in NEP policy and this needs to be addressed with urgency.

State Ideology: Be grateful you’re Malaysian

Try putting yourself in the shoes of an 18-year-old. This young Malaysian born in 1991 is told that Umno was very generous in granting citizenship to his non-Malay forefathers in 1957. Thus as a descendant of an immigrant community – one should be forever grateful and respect the “social contract”.

Gratitude is demanded by the state while little is reciprocated. Under the NEP – and some say this policy represents the de facto social contract – every single Vice Chancellor of every single Malaysian public university is Malay.

Promotion prospects for non-Malay lecturers to full professorship or head of department are very dim, hence we have the dichotomy of non-Malays predominant in private colleges while correspondingly, the academic staff of public institutions proliferate with Malays.

The civil service is staffed predominantly by Malays, too, and overwhelmingly in the top echelons. The government-linked corporations have been turned into a single race monopoly.

Hence is it any surprise that almost all the scholarships offered by government and GLCs seem to be reserved for Malays?

Youngsters from the minority communities see that Malays are the chosen ones regardless of their scholastic achievement and financial position. Some are offered to do a Master although they did not even apply (but the quota is there to be filled, so these disinterested Malays are approached).

Our lesson today is ...

How the government apparatus conducts itself and the consequences of its policy implementation will upset an individual’s innate sense of justice.

The government pays about RM1.8 billion in annual salaries to teachers. A child is taught moral studies in class but he learns in life that adults condone and conspire to immorality by perpetuating the unfairness and injustice which impacts on Malaysia’s young.

On the other hand, the favoured group is given more than their just desserts without either merit or need. When one is bred to think that privilege is only his rightful entitlement, we would not expect this young person to pay back to society in return.

Our Malaysian education system has been flip-flopped, pushed and pulled this way and that until standards dropped to alarming levels. The passing mark for subjects in public exams have fallen notoriously low while the increasing number of distinctions have risen fatuously high with SPM students notching 14As, 17As and 21As.

With top scorers aplenty, there will not be enough scholarships to go around now that the Education Ministry has decided to put a cap on the SPM, limiting takers to 10 subjects.

The human factor

It’s unrealistic that the education system can be effectively overhauled. Even tweaking one aspect of it, such as the language switch for Math and English, created havoc.

It’s not that our educational framework is so bad as, after all, a lot of study and planning did go into it.

It’s only when the politicians dictate from on high and overrule the better judgment of the educationists – Dr Mahathir Mohamad being case in point – that we slide deeper into the doldrums.

The politicisation of education and the hijacking of the country’s educational agenda has clearly cost us heavily in terms of policy flip-flops and plummeting standards, and the loss of a good part of our young and talented human resources.

Matters become worse when Little Napoleons too take it upon themselves to interfere with teachers. For instance, the serial number assigned candidates when they sit public exams. Why is a student’s race encoded in the number? What does his ethnicity have to do with his answer script?

There is further suspicion that the stacks of SPM papers are not distributed to examiners entirely at random (meaning ideally examiners should be blind to which exam centres the scripts they’re marking have originated from).

A longstanding complaint from lecturers is that they are pressured to pass undergrads who are not up to the mark, and having to put up with mediocre ones who believe they are ‘A’ material after being spoilt in mono-racial schools.

Letting teachers do their job properly and allowing them to grade their students honestly would arrest the steep erosion of standards.

And, unless we are willing to be honest brokers in seeking a compromise and adjustment, the renewed demonising of vernacular schools is merely mischievous.

Either accept their existence or integrate the various types of schools.

But are UiTM and its many branch campuses throughout the length and breadth of the country, Mara Junior Science Colleges and the residential schools willing to open their doors to all on the basis of meritocracy if Chinese, Tamil, and not forgetting religious schools, were abolished? Not open to a token few non-Bumiputera but genuinely open up and with the admission numbers posted in a transparent manner.

Finally, there are teachers genuinely passionate about their profession. There are promising teachers fresh out of training college who are creative and capable of inspiring their students. It’s not only Form 5 students who have been demoralised. Teachers are human capital that we seem to have overlooked in the present controversy.

Conclusion: Ensuring fairness for the future well-being of our young

A segment of Johoreans cross the Causeway daily to attend school in Singapore. Many continue their tertiary education in Singapore which has among the top universities in the world. Eventually, they work in Singapore and benefit Singapore.

Ask around among your friends and see who hasn’t got a child or a sibling who is now living abroad as a permanent resident. I can’t really blame them for packing up and packing it in, can you?

It’s simply critical at this juncture that we don’t let our kids lose hope and throw in the towel.

The system might be slow to reform but mindsets at least can be changed easier.

It starts with the teachers, the educationists and the people running the education departments and implementing the policies.

Please help Malaysian youngsters realise their full potential. Just try a little fairness first. –

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bursa reduces tick size to boost liquidity

I agree that reduces tick size is good but agree only 20% with the reason. Liquidity is sentiment driven but this will reduce volatility especially for penny stocks. If you ever play a round of poker, you can quickly wipe out by a guy that have more chips than you by raising bet size, denying you a chance of waiting for better odds. Post tick size reduction, to win big, players will have to take larger size to win big if they are a day trader, but it will be easier to get in and get out. So this is probably the logic of boosting liquidity. The big but is if the sentiment is so bad, no speculators or liquidity provider will be interested to offer .01 tick to buy or to sell.

(TheEdgeMalaysia)KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia has reduced the tick size, which is the minimum price variation between the buy and sell price for a stock, with effect from Aug 3.

The stock exchange operator said the tick size was reduced in line with the current practice by global developed markets and to create market depth, enable price discovery and boost liquidity in the local equities market.

Chief executive officer Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusoff said investors relied on information such as tick sizes to estimate future movement of a counter's share price as well as form a gauge of market sentiment.

"We anticipate that this reduction of tick size will broaden participation from investors who are poised to provide more liquidity to the local market as investors can enter and exit the market more easily.

"In addition, the smaller tick size will enable investors and traders to take advantage of more trading opportunities with each price movement, however small it is," he said in a statement.

Yusli said this was more evident with the advent of electronic access or Direct Market Access infrastructure which operates efficiently with smaller tick sizes.

Under the revised tick structure, the minimum price change of listed securities would be reduced.

Currently, a RM5.10 stock is quoted in multiples of five sen which means that the next tick up is RM5.15 and the next tick down is RM5.05.

With the new tick sizes, investors can now quote in multiples of 1 sen which will now see a RM5.10 stock go up to the next tick which is RM5.11 or next tick down which is RM5.09.
Bursa Malaysia said this would create more trading opportunities for both buyer and seller.

The equity Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) on the Main Board would also benefit from the change to a smaller tick size.

It added these ETFs had a tick size of one sen regardless of any price. Under the revised structure, any ETFs below RM1 will have a tick size of 0.1 sen and ETFs that are priced between RM1 and RM2.995 will have a tick size of 0.5 sen.

For ETFs that are priced at RM3.00 and above, the new tick size will be 1 sen. Meanwhile, the bond ETF maintains its extremely small tick size of 0.1 sen.

In respect to the bidding price for buying-in, the Exchange will retain the 10 ticks. Arising from this, the buying-in price will be based on the current tick sizes instead of the new tick sizes to ensure that the buying-in price is attractive to potential sellers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Turtle Portfolio Record Update

(Click on the table to enlarge)

I have invested 35% of the savings since KLCI crossed 1,000 points. As this is a very passive portfolio, I am more conscious on the downside protection rather than upside in a short time. The return on capital(saving) is about 7% so far, I hope I am still on track meeting my original target of 10% per year. Except two shots that I fired pre-Lehman collapsed, every single investment made was profitable. I hope I did make a point here, invest I must, regardless of what the world says. However, if KLCI does hit 1200 - 1250, I will do some reshuffling on my portfolio to tweak my return a bit.

Turtle bought 200 shares Shell Refining Malaysia

Turtle bought 200 shares Shell Refining Malaysia @ RM 10.50/share. More update later.

Astro looks interesting to me. Weak hands should have been flushed out in the last two days. Astro is not suitable to be picked for Turtle portfolio at this point because it is very volatile, unless I want to do some quick trades.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blogs: To trust or not to trust

According to Globescan poll conducted in 2006, % of people trust the sources of news:

News websites 38%

Media 25%

Blogs 23%

Looking at the chart, the interesting trend that I can observe is the countries that have less freedom of information like Egypt, Indonesia, Germany, Korea, people tend to trust more on blogs than more liberal countries like US. I have not been able to draw a conclusion on Brazil.

What is the purpose of blogger existence? BBC writes:

Blogs do not really exist to provide people with the "news and information" they want on current affairs.

They exist to agitate, to question, to swap information, to provide leads and opinions, and generally to act as guerrilla forces against the massed ranks of the mainstream media.

They see themselves as activists, not just providers. And they like to give it to you raw.

Their aim is to undermine trust in their opponents as much as to raise trust among themselves. Their regular respondents tend to agree with everything the site says anyway.

They have not yet, in my view, reached the level of being a sufficient alternative source of news and information. They are probably best seen at the moment as an additional source of information.

My personal views on blogs and good qualities that I am looking in a blogger.

1. Competence. The person must know what he/she is talking about.

2. Sincerity. Is the person trying his/her best.

3. Diligence. Do his/her homework.

4. Balanced, matured and fair. One should not put down on others to glorify oneself.

5. Humble/humility. To err is human, to forgive Divine.

6. Curiosity. Seek to understand how the world work.

7. Smart thinking. Don't make lazy intellectual arguments.

8. Value added information. Bring something to the table so that we all can learn something.

9. Polite. Don't be abusive.

10. Respect for others. Forget who you are, whether you are rich or powerful, we all are equal in the blog sphere.

Monday, July 20, 2009

S&P 500 to Post Biggest Gain Since 1982, Goldman Says

July 20 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. boosted its forecast for the Standard & Poor 500 Index, saying improving earnings will spur the steepest second-half rally since 1982.

The benchmark index for U.S. stocks will end the year at 1,060, 15 percent above its level on June 30 and an increase from David Kostin’s prior projection of 940. The chief U.S. investment strategist at New York-based Goldman Sachs also lifted his 2009 and 2010 earnings per share estimates for S&P 500 companies to $52 and $75, which are 30 percent and 19 percent higher than his prior estimates, respectively.

“Improvement in ex-financial earnings per share, stabilization in profit margins and higher forward EPS guidance all point to a rising market through 2009,” Kostin wrote in a report today.

The S&P 500 rallied the most since March last week as companies from Goldman Sachs to Intel Corp. reported results that topped analysts’ estimates. Since March 9, the gauge has rebounded 39 percent amid speculation the economy is recovering.

Kostin is now tied with Deutsche Bank AG’s Binky Chadha for the second-highest S&P 500 forecast among 10 Wall Street strategists tracked by Bloomberg News. Only JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Thomas Lee, at 1,100, is more bullish on stocks. Barclays Plc’s Barry Knapp, who had been the pessimistic U.S. strategist, increased his projection a week ago following the 40 percent surge in the S&P 500 between March and June, the biggest gain since the 1930s.

The average year-end forecast for the S&P 500 among the 10 Wall Street strategists followed by Bloomberg News is now 997.

Strategists will get it wrong consistently. When they start to turn bullish, the actual result will tend to overshoot. If they are looking around 1,000 - 1050, the actual will overshoot another 10-15%, that means 1,150 is quite possible.

When not to use technical indicator

A few weeks ago, a group of technical analysts have been making bearish calls based on formation of classic textbook Head and Shoulder pattern. Unfortunately they were caught by storms(surprise???). At this stage, I will be very careful with technical analysis. To me, this pattern will be more meaningful once we have entered a prolong bull run. To those looking for S & P 500 at 400-500, I will see you in 2012, just a joke for now.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Entrepreneurship requires four areas of mastery

Saw this on the Star written by one of the folks from LEA( They suggested based on their research, you need to master four areas that you can see in the chart. Since have good intentions to train potential entrepreneurs, I would be less cynical with my views on what they wrote on Looking at their website, the reason of their existence is this:

Leaderonomics Entrepreneur Academy (LEA) is an organization dedicated to the pursuit of leadership, talent and entrepreneurial development and understanding at strategic to operational levels, and through a range of learning, consulting and partnering services. We work with all ages and leadership levels based on leading practices, insights and trends from global MNCs and leadership academia.

LEA is established with the purpose to develop and grow entrepreneurs in the country whilst building the entrepreneurial community locally and globally.

LEA's objective is to elevate the entrepreneur eco-system by synergizing new and established entrepreneurs along with investors to create a healthy sustainable economy.

They are charging you a few hundreds Ringgit to attend their workshop(btw, it's very reasonable).

I have no problems with their mission but I am concern with them teaching "research" models that is perfect in theoretical world but lack of relevance in the real world. I'm also afraid that it will turn out to be some kind of motivational or pep talk sessions that keep you fire up for a while, fizzle out when you wake up the next day.

The four areas of mastery is like nothing more than stating the obvious just like this scene.

I'm not trying to thrash folks in LEA but they got to do a better job.

If anyone of you decided to be an entrepreneur, lesson # 1 is this : be dead sure you have enough cash. Most entrepreneur fails within six months because they are running out of cash. Cash flow is number one problem when you start a new business.

Mistake # 2, jumping around business ideas thinking that they can build a conglomerate like Robert Kuok, trading sugar, to owning ships, cinemas, plantations, hotel, etc.

Mistake # 3, bringing in a wrong partner. When your business begins to overcome the inertia, achieving critical mass, bringing you consistent cash flow and thinking of scaling up. Be careful of bringing in a wrong new partner to fund your expansion. Be sure your partner remains sleeping partner or be a complementary partner. Be sure their wife don't get involve too. This is often a source of tension leading to business break up.

Mistake #4, not bringing in professional management to free you up to focus on business expansion. Entrepreneurs have very strong technical or hands on skills, they are so good that they look other people no UP. That's why you will see some one man show will remain one man show. But smart entrepreneur will quickly hire a branch manager so that he can open his second branch.

Mistake #5, no succession planning. Some entrepreneurs manage to bring in professional management but did not pay attention to succession planning. As a result, they are falling into the curse of wealth cannot last more than 3 generations. A smart entrepreneur will want to let go and share their wealth with the public and if they lack of qualified family members to run the business, let the pro do the job and manage the wealth through a foundation. This is an area the westerner done a much better job than Asian.

Guys, I am getting more and more abstract but hope you will find it useful.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Saw 2 interesting news - US disposal income & China hitting 8% GDP growth

This is an interesting chart. The US consumers disposable is rising but the retail sales have been trailing. Some argues that consumers feel less confidence about their future prefer to save. Other differs saying consumers are repairing their balance sheet to pair down their debts. Actually, both are right but my gut feel is after a while -- the Americans are going to spend again.

The second news is China's GDP grew almost 8% in 09 Q2 (not 5 - 6% that bearish camp hopes for).

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- China’s gross domestic product grew 7.9 percent in the second quarter as the nation became the first of the major economies to rebound from the global recession.

The figure, announced by the statistics bureau in Beijing today, exceeded the 7.8 percent median forecast of 20 economists in a Bloomberg survey and a 6.1 percent gain in the first quarter that was the slowest in almost a decade.

China, the biggest contributor to global growth, overtook Japan as the world’s second-largest stock market by value yesterday after a 4 trillion yuan ($585 billion) stimulus package spurred record lending and boosted share prices. The first-half expansion laid the foundation for meeting the year’s 8 percent growth target for creating jobs and maintaining social stability, the statistics bureau said today.

This reinforced my views of the macro-economics will be better in the coming months. I am not withdrawing my neck from the chopping board betting the US recession will end this year. The world is going to be fine.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chart of the day

The recent development in the US is worrisome to many. Some are so concerns that they think US will turn into Zimbabwe or something like that. Many draw analogy of the fall of British Empire in the early 1900s. However, if we look at one of measurements of quality of life, GDP per capita, the UK overtook the US in 2008(in US $). Interesting indeed. The UK did not perform too badly actually though they were labeled as the sick man of Europe. FTSE 100 is generating 5% plus annual compound return over the last 25 years. Hence I think the fear is over-exaggerated.

The rise of the US has been interesting when I looked the following data(Year/GDP per Capita)

1820 $ 1,287
1900 $ 4,096
1950 $ 9,573
1973 $ 16,607
1993 $ 25,612
2008 $ 47,427

It took almost 50 years for the Americans to break the US $ 10,000(GDP per capita).

American took close to hundred years to get to where it is today. Their journey has not been smooth, they went through a Great Depression, two world wars, Great Inflation, Oil Crisis, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, etc........

Based on IMF number, China GDP per capita in 2008 ranked # 104 in the world, US $ 3,315. The base is almost like the US in the early 19 century. To expect them to break US $ 10,000 per capita within next 10 years will be unrealistic but the potential is enormous for the next 100 years. To expect China to sail smoothly without hiccups will not be realistic too. However, buy and hold a China Index fund in terms of relative return, in my view, will be a good bet. I will not zero weight advanced economies(underweight is possible) but certainly will overweight on China and Asia on the long term basis.

Need to have realistic expectations on China and also need to have a balance view of advanced economies and not just driven by emotions. A good investor is like what Mao said I don't care whether it is a black cat or white cat, as long as it catches a mice is a good cat. I don' care whether it is the US or UK or China, as long as it generates good returns will be my good friends - China is my best friend for now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rare bullish call from Meredith Whitney - Buy Goldman

Meredith Whitney earned as a superstar last year being the first person to call for a dividend cut on Citigroup before the rest did. After being bearish on financial for a while, in a very rare call, she upgraded Goldman Sachs to a buy. Unfortunately it was not for a good reason.

NEW YORK (WSJ-Dow Jones)--Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) will benefit from being a key player in a "tsunami of debt issuance" by governments as they try to fill gaps in underfunded budgets, financial analyst Meredith Whitney said Monday in an upgrade of Goldman to "buy."

Whitney predicted Goldman Sachs would post second quarter results Tuesday above Street estimates - she expects earnings of $4.65 a share, compared with the average analyst estimate of $3.48, according to estimates provided by Thomson Reuters. She set her 12-month price target on Goldman shares to $186.

Shares of Goldman Sachs rose 3.4% in recent premarket trading to $146.73.

A bullish call from Whitney is rare; she gained renown during the financial crisis for bearish calls on the stocks of large banks that were initially unpopular but ultimately correct.

However, Whitney said her bullish view of Goldman is rooted in her overall bearish outlook for the U.S. economy and other U.S. financial companies. While Goldman has made most of its money in the past through a focus on equity markets, Whitney said during the next two years they will shift their focus to the government debt markets, facilitating new issuance from local, state, federal and sovereign governments as they try to raise money to fill budget gaps.

She predicted that sovereign and municipal debt markets will grow more than 20% over the next 18% months, while U.S. corporate debt will be about 60% of its level during the last three years.

Since several key players have left the market because of the financial crisis, Goldman will take market share and become the key player, she said.

Monday, July 13, 2009

S&P 500 Q2 2009 Earnings Preview

Click on the images to enlarge -- The Second Table is very important.

You may be reading in newspaper, blogs and etc that "investors" are trying to turn to 2009 Quarter 2 for clues on the recovery, after a series of "scary" economic data recently. I think the investing community is settling for EPS of US $ 50 for S&P 500 for 2009 and another 10% improvement for 2010. Based on the first table, it will give you a feel of where the S&P 500 fair value should be.(Forget about the shaded earning estimates as it was done in October 2008)

On the second table, the market is expecting roughly 40% 2009 Quarter 2 improvement over 2009 Quarter 1. The sectors of sharp turnaround are expected from energy, consumer discretionary, financials and materials(see the yellow highlights). Any dissapointments in these four sectors will force the market to adjust to a new equalibrium.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lee Iacocca: Where the hell is our leaders ?

Lee Iacocca was a corporate hero that rescued American car maker Chrysler from its death throes in the 80s. Chances, a number of you have not born or just born. He has something to say about America but his same message should also applies to Malaysia.

Guys and gals, this is not bashing or pulpit bully session, this is a deep concern calling for things to change. We just cannot go on with business as usual, throwing a few million Ringgit here and there to launch PR repair, changing public perceptions, clever timing to announce piece meals liberalizations, etc. You know what I am talking about. It will not work. Old fashion way will work, they taught this in school: Actions speak louder than words.

Lee Iacocca wrote a book at the age of 80 plus and starts his book:

'Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder! We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course.'

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned, 'Titanic'. I'll give you a sound bite: 'Throw all the bums out!'

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore.

The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq , the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving 'pom-poms' instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of the 'America' my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have. The Biggest 'C' is Crisis! (Iacocca elaborates on nine C's of leadership, with crisis being the first.)

Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A hell of a mess, so here's where we stand.

We're immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.

We're running the biggest deficit in the history of the country.

We're losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.

Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble.

Our borders are like sieves.

The middle class is being squeezed every which way.

These are times that cry out for leadership.

But when you look around, you've got to ask: 'Where have all the leaders gone?' Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.

Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?

We've spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.

Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm.

Everyone's hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn't happen again. Now, that's just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you're going to do the next time.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when 'The Big Three' referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and more important, what are we going to do about it?

Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.

I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn't elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don't you guys show some spine for a change?

Had Enough? Hey, I'm not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. I'm trying to light a fire. I'm speaking out because I have hope - I believe in America. In my lifetime, I've had the privilege of living through some of America's greatest moments. I've also experienced some of our worst crises: The 'Great Depression,' 'World War II,' the 'Korean War,' the 'Kennedy Assassination,' the 'Vietnam War,' the 1970's oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11.

If I've learned one thing, it's this: 'You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it's building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That's the challenge I'm raising in this book. It's a "Call to Action" for people who, like me, believe in America'. It's not too late, but it's getting pretty close. So let's shake off the crap and go to work. Let's tell 'em all we've had 'enough.'

Make your own contribution by sending this to everyone you know and care about. It's our country, folks, and it's our future. Our future is at stake!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

U Turn Again?

I was really disappointed on the recent decision of the government to reverse their decision on teaching Mathematics and Science in English. I was also very annoyed with Anwar Ibrahim earlier, see below

(TheStar 28 June) PETALING JAYA: Scrap the policy of teaching Science and Mathematics in English and bring back Bahasa Melayu as the medium of instruction in the education system, said Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He urged for the return of Bahasa Melayu’s status as the supreme language, which included using it as the medium to teach Maths and Science in national schools and strengthening its usage in Chinese and Tamil schools.

“This issue has become a controversy for far too long. We consider this policy a betrayal towards Bahasa Melayu as our official language,” hetold a press conference Sunday.

Now you know why I applaud our neighbour Indonesia as I think they will do a lot better than Malaysia in the next 10 years(see yesterday's post). The issue is NOT language. The issue is we don't have true statesman that will do the right thing for the people. I know English is good honey but let's do Bahasa. Where the f*** are the leaders in this country? I do not hope that we one day will follow the footsteps of the Filipinos, the people were so desperate that they were willing to try anybody - doctor(failed), actor(failed) and finally ruled by a beauty queen.

Truly yours,
Desperado Malaysian Turtle!

P.S. I make no apology for using the word f*** in this post.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tortoise and hare race

Our neighbour has been reforming very quietly. With Susilo potential wins for the second term to carry on with his reforms, it is a matter of time, Malaysia will send their maids to Indonesia.

(TheEdgeMalaysia)JAKARTA: Although the official results will not be released until the end of July, various quick count and exit poll results are consistently predicting that Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will be re-elected in the first round and a second run-off will not be necessary.

Local media reported that as of the night of July 8, 2% of the 176 million votes have been counted and he is leading with 60.7% of the votes.

Indonesia Survey Institute shows that Susilo has captured 60.8% of the votes, with former president Megawati Sukarnoputri in second with 26.6% and current vice president Jusuf Kalla capturing 12.6% of the votes.

Other pollsters are showing similar results with Susilo getting about 60% of the votes. This implies that the president will fulfil one of the conditions of being re-elected in the first round, which is capturing more than half of the votes.

It is also likely he will be able to meet the second condition, which is to get at least 20% of votes in more than half of the 33 provinces.

The scale of Susilo victory will add to his party’s (Demokrat Party) strong performance in the April parliamentary elections and give the president a strong mandate.

The Demokrat Party will be the biggest in the next parliament (which will convene in July) and will occupy 27% of parliamentary seats vs. 11% currently. This advantage has enabled him to part with VP Kalla and the Golkar party (that will occupy 19% of the parliamentary seats) and pick ex-Bank Indonesia governor Boediono as his running mate, now vice president-elect, instead.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Plantation stocks watch triggered

(TheEdgeMalaysia)KUALA LUMPUR: Crude palm oil (CPO) futures fell below the key RM2,000 level at midday on July 8, dragging plantation stocks lower, while investors’ sentiment was already bearish due to declines in key regional markets.

At 12.30pm, the KLCI fell 5.96 points to 1,060.4. Turnover was 314.19 million shares valued at RM528.52 million. Losers hammered gainers 356 to 85 while 167 counters were unchanged.

A firmer US dollar affected commodities, according to news reports. CPO futures fell RM79 to RM1,993, the lowest since March 31 while spot gold fell US$1.63 to US$923.05. Light crude oil fell 75 cents to US$62.18.

The commodity traders' sentiments are somewhat affected by this news:

CFTC Is Going After The Speculators
By Jay Yarow
July 07, 2009: 06:54 AM ET

( -- The CFTC wants to change standard operating procedure to crack down on any excessive speculation in the oil market.

The plan is to set trading limits on oil, natural gas and other commodities of a "finite supply" the Wall Street Journal reports.

In the next two months the CFTC will hold a series of hearings to figure out the best way to use its authority to stop manipulation of the commodity markets.

The CFTC is likely nervous about the crazy volatility in energy prices. Last year's oil spike is still seen as a freaky occurence, with the blame laid at the feet of speculators. This year's doubling of oil prices, despite the fact that demand is low and supply is high, has many people worried that the market is being manipulated all over again.

Not to mention we are going into summer -- light trading activities plus recent jobless data makes them nervous.

Dear readers - I say watch and not buy. One of the very common mistakes of retail investors is jumping into buying stocks the moment they see bad news thinking of taking a contrarian stance.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Watch that divergence

I have posted some data of things are getting better but financial markets are struggling to digest the implications because the degree of shocked was too severe. Most have not recovered from that shocked. The insiders are selling as fast as they can, for the fear the worst is yet to come. If you look at the speed and magnitude of decline in the first quarter, it was unbelievable fast and deep. When things are getting better for 2 - 3 months, they are just too skeptical that the worst is behind them. Shall we call this post-traumatic stress disorder ? Just like the Vietnam veterans struggling to return to civilian life ? Having bad dreams and screaming in the middle of the night? Those big boys forced to sell everything they have got between October 08 - March 09 will need to take a lot of time to heal. It will take at least one generation of new blood to have enough guts(balls) to leverage up in a big way again.

While the US consumer confidence index was creeping up but only 1% believe the recession is almost over, 5% thinks it will end within 6 months and 94% believe it will last a lot longer.

Many of you know that I talk a lot of big picture stuffs but I rarely use it to buy stocks. What I typically do is getting excited when the share price starts to decline, I will continue to watch and watch till it comes down to a point I feel it is cheap enough(even though) it can go down further. I will just keep watching that divergence till it is attractive to buy.

I am aware that the market is going to be volatile for a while, that is the reason I am still hiding behind good dividend stocks and keeping cash. Now you know why I am hiding behind Tanjong, defensive sector tends to do well in volatile times. If you have bought Nestle or BJ Toto pre-Lehman collapsed, chances you are still making money.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bear hunter strategy

We are reading/listening to OPV(other people's view) everyday. They have reasons why they hold that view - bullish or bearish. They will formulate their investment strategy that reflect that view. Let's turn to David Tice one of the big bears out there and see how [he] is doing it.

He has done well [in] the last 10 years as the US economy is going down the drain fast drown by two bubbles. Watching his shorts -- though he thinks deleveraging pains will go on, his shorts on the hard assets(commodities, energy is relatively lighter than consumer related). If you dig into his long positions details -- most of them are resources producers. He is also smartly short relatively light on defensive sector like utilities. If you are a long only player, we should get a good idea of what to go long.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Recession-Recovery Watch

Some might be thinking that I am trying to make crazy call to get attention especially after the released of bad jobless data that hinting the worst is yet to come. No, I don't work that way. I'm always operate on the maxim of "In God I trust, the rest show me the data".

(i) Intial claim has peaked

(ii)Weekly and Monthly leading indicators show very solid uptick. Monthly leading indicator has turned POSITIVE.

(iii)China PMI - above 50% four months in a row and above pre-Lehman collapsed.

(iv) Crude Oil has been solidly above US $ 50/bbl

(v)I don't believe Baltic Dry Index will collapse

Am I bias in finding data to support the case of the end of recession? YES but if I can find more positive data than negative, this suggest odds are getting a lot better.

US Recession to end soon?

Out of 6/6 of the past US recessions, whenever the capacity utilization bottomed out, that was the end of a recession. While we have not seen any rebound yet but I have a feeling that we are close to the bottom. Recession is probably getting close to an end or 2-3 months from now. Brave call huh? Reader beware, this is an amateur call.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

China lets foreign banks access yuan for HK trade

(TheEdge)BEIJING: Foreign banks will be able to buy or borrow yuan from Chinese mainland lenders for the first time to settle trade in Hong Kong and Macau under a pilot scheme steered by the central bank.

The central bank chiefs of China and Hong Kong signed a memorandum on Monday (June 29), paving the way for the scheme, which analysts say is a step toward greater international use of the yuan.

According to detailed rules published today by the People's Bank of China, foreign banks settling imports and exports in yuan in Hong Kong and Macau will be allowed to buy Chinese currency from mainland banks within certain limits.

I'm trying to make one or two liners by trying a minimalist approach to deliver my thoughts. One word on this move: Cheers!

Will the US jobless rate cross 10%?

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Employers in the U.S. cut 467,000 jobs in June, the unemployment rate rose and hourly earnings stagnated, offering little evidence the Obama administration’s stimulus package is shoring up the labor market.

The payroll decline was more than forecast and followed a 322,000 drop in May, according to Labor Department figures released today in Washington. The jobless rate jumped to 9.5 percent, the highest since August 1983, from 9.4 percent.

We are approaching a very critical psychological point, if jobless rate is crossing 10%, confidence will be shaken badly. Bruised confidence will lead to less spending on top of people has no purchasing power because they got no jobs. Will see. I rather not to do any prediction on this one except watching this number diligently.