Saturday, February 6, 2016

Singaporeans Play Soft-Tip Darts, Stockpicker Picks Soft-Tip Darts Set

Forest 2 darts cafe located at Shenton House, opposite SGX Centre

The SGX Stockpicker started playing soft-tip darts recently - 3 times this year. The last I played darts was more than a decade ago, when I played steel-tip darts during my army times, after lunch. The first time I played soft-tip darts in 2016 was when I wandered into Wiser Sports Bar at Ah Rood Road after my Japanese lunch date. The second time, I was driven to Arena Bar at Serangoon Gardens after having dinner with my friend. The most recent darts games was a planned visit to Forest 2, some 4 minutes walk from my office.

The mechanics are generally the same but soft-tip darts is gaining popularity in Singapore because it is accessible. Unlike steel-tip darts, the soft-tip machine counts the score for you and you can choose to buy a card, that connects you with other users, and level up.

I bought my own darts set on the most recent visit (see the photo below) and it set me back SGD207 dollars. I originally planned to spend only SGD100 but ended spending more (!) and I will explain.

On the top left is the barrel of the darts, which costs SGD98. I originally though that this was darts as I know it. I was wrong. The barrel is where your fingers hold on to the darts and it can be a straight barrel or a front-loaded barrel. Mine is front-loaded and made of 95% tungsten and supposedly made in England. All these adds to the costs. 

On the bottom left is the shaft which I paid SGD42 for. This part connects the barrel with the flight. I got a no.4 spinner, which according to the sales lady, was good for a beginner like my self.

The flights - the ends of the darts - cost me a certain amount which I couldn't remember (SGD25?) but it helps to stabilise the flight when you throw.

The front/tips of the darts, the point, is really cheap because they break very easily. This can be seen from the fact that one of the darts has a white tips and the black tips are of uneven lengths.

On the bottom right is the container. Sensing that I was into black colour, she sold me the casing which probably costs SGD25. Finally, on the top right is the ID card that will allow to store you in-game data as well as participate in competitions by connecting with people online.

On hind-sight, if I were not rushing to play with my friends who were already there, I would have probably done a bit more homework and pay not more than SGD157 all-in. Areas that I would have cut down are the flights and the container. The rest of the parts are quite value-for-money. 

In terms of marginal costs, you pay about SGD1 for two games, which is cheap like a visit to the video arcade. The downside of playing darts in general is that you are compelled to buy a drink or eat fried bar food. Not only are you adding to the cost of the game, these adds calories to a "sport" that does not cause you to burn much calories. Unless you count walking to-and-fro the oche.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Why Singaporeans should not cheer for negative Japanese interest rates?

The Straits Times Index jumped by more than 2% on the last trading day of January after the Japanese central bank announced that a key interest rate would be made negative. Despite this intervention and same-day reaction, I am sticking to my prediction that there will be a tumble to 2,200-2,400 levels before recovery because other central banks have used the same negative interest rate policy with little effect on the stock market. I believe the Japanese central bank's intention is to weaken the Yen than stimulate the stock market.

If anything, that last day jump means we are closer to that last phase of the bear market, where the mood of the market turns from surprise/disbelief into despair. This is because, to steal a movie quote, there can be no true despair, without hope. Japan's central bank intervention represents that hope before the STI tumbles into 2,200-2,400 levels. A quiet recovery, not noticeable by many until after the fact (2-3 months out) will ensue after true despair has set in.

Meanwhile, I have been trawling through blogs, valuebuddies and sharejunction for ideas on which stock to pick up. SingPost remains on my watchlist but I have added Riverstone and NSL and Lee Metal Group for future considerations. The temptation to average down on KrisEnergy however, has become very strong.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The weak Singapore job market starts to hit me

I work as an analyst for a US multinational corporation. Business conditions have been poor because of the weak commodities market affecting our major clients. Several rounds of layoffs have occured globally, including in Singapore. Thus, it was a great worry two days ago when my senior manager sent out an email at 10pm to attend a conference call held at 11pm the same night. Of course I missed out on the conference call. I was busy catching up on my sleep.

It was definitely not positive news because the next day, I received multiple meeting invites from various managers - I work in a company with a very complicated structure. Turns out that the company was going to freeze promotions as well as pay for the coming year. The upside we were told by the team leader, was that our jobs would remain secure until end-2016 and that the our incentive would still be paid out. The team broke out in laughter.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Straits Times Index Bear Market into 9 months, Sharp Plunge Ahead

If we took April 2015 as the peak and end of the bull market, we are now entering the ninth month that the market has trended down. This is essentially a bear market. As I have written in my previous post, I argued that there has been two distinct phases in the bear market and that there will be one more phase. This is the phase where there will be sharply declines but the mood of the market turns from surprise/disbelief into despair. This is also where the market starts to recover.

I have made some predictions for the first three months of the year and I have been spot on so far. And if history is any indicator, on average, we should see an inflection between one and nine months time or between February and October 2016. In the last financial crisis, the STI was at its lowest around 1,600 points at one level. My opinion is that we will almost certainly (93% +/-6%) not hit sub-2,000 like in the GFC.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Singapore Stock Market Outlook 2016

Those viewing my blog on a desktop version will see my latest prediction for the coming year. For the benefit of readers viewing my posts on their smartphones, the below is my market outlook as of 31 December 2015.

Singapore Stock Market 2016 Outlook

3 Month Outlook: The market will decline sharply (more than 6% decline from peak to trough) and will probably (75% chance, +/-12%) touch 2,600 levels.

3+3 Month Outlook: Market will decline (3% from peak to trough) or have (volatile day-to-day swings of +/-1.5%) sharp swings.

6+6 Month Outlook: Market will embark on a slow recovery (start of the right side of the "V"), likely to end the year at 2,900 level +/- 50 points.

3 refers to the immediate following three months
3+3 refers to the 3 months period after the first three months
6+6 refers to the 6 months period after the first six months

Please do your due diligence. I am only a blogger. The aim of the predictions is just to share with your my sentiment of the market using more precise language. This will allow me to test my predictions. It will be updated on an as and when basis, but at least every 3 months.