Saturday, July 30, 2011

Going back to School

Recently, I found out that I failed my CFA Level II examinations. It was unsurprising considering that I did not have sufficient preparation given the change in my working schedule.

For the moment, I do not intend to take the Level II again next year, because I feel that a Master's education would be more suitable for my course of work. My some times client-facing, research function job requires me to write a lot more, and there is little financial analysis (although it would be good to have).

If I were to pass the CFA Level II and then Level III, it will cost me about SGD 4,000, bulk of which is to pay for the exam registration. This is definitely the cheaper alternative compared to the Master's course that I intend to sit for, which I estimate to be worth possible at least SGD 12,000. However, it is important to note that the CFA is a self-study certification programme and is very well-recognised across the world. For the Master's degree, it sometimes suggest to employers that you have a lot of money and time to further your studies.

There are also other consideration as well, namely, how setting aside the money for the studies will impede on my life-cycle. After all, I do intend to get married and have to pay for two big items, a wedding and a house. SGD 12,000 may not mean a lot over the course of one person's life, but it can contribute to a comfortable interior design for the first home, or a very nice holiday away from Southeast Asia.
Fortunately, I have until the end of October to decide whether or not I want to do a Master's or not. Preliminarily, the cost will be a big issue that I have to sort out with myself.

C&O Pharma Trading Halt

Did not realise that C&O issued a trading halt announcement. Based on the volume of shares trading up in recent weeks, I can only gather that the following may take place.

1. Privatisation. Sumitomo is trying to acquire as many shares as it can in the open market before taking the drug manufacturer public.

2. Share placement or rights issue. The share price is being ramped up so that C&O can raise enough money in the market without selling too many shares. However, this is a sell signal to me as it means that C&O is not a cash generating machine that I think it is.

We will know when Monday comes. Generally, when a company issues announcements over the weekend, it cannot mean good things. Fingers crossed.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Portfolio recovers slightly

The portfolio recovered slightly. but what is really bothering me is that I find it almost impossible to dump Stratech. I bought it at 5 cents and now it is 2.2 cents! This is compounded by the fact that I bought only SGD 1,000-plus worth of it, meaning the transaction costs will eat up most of the money. On the bright side, while I did thought of dumping C&O, another top loser in the portfolio, it has climbed up in recent weeks to an "acceptable" level.

In my opinion, there will not be the market crash even if Obama and gang fail to trash something out. In fact, the last thing we would want is for the world's largest debtor nation to continue printing more money. GIC will be hit hardest by the falling dollar.

Going forward, it is unlikely that I will pump money into stocks as I am focusing on the other aspects of life. Traveling has been on the top of my list this year, followed closely by housing and education. Things at work have picked up and I do feel a bit more confident as well.

GMG Global Post Strong 2Q11 On Lowbase

GMG turnover for 2Q 2011 was $288.4 mil (47,409 tons sold) compared with $80.7mil for 2Q 2010 (19,069 tons sold).

For the six months ended 30 June 2011, turnover was $571.2mil with 92,856 tons sold compared with $288.4mil with 40,273 tons sold in the corresponding six months of 2010.

Increase in tonnage sold was due to (1) maiden contribution from the Group’s new subsidiary, Teck Bee Hang, (2) net increase in external purchases from its factories and (3) increase in trading tonnage.

However in its Hevecam plantation, the prolong heavy rainfalls had impacted production in the first six months ended 30 June 2011.

Gross profit for 2Q 2011 was $31.9 mil (GP margin 11.1%) compared with $17.4mil for 2Q 2010 (GP margin 21.5%).

For the six months ended 30 June 2011, gross profit was $73.9mil (GP margin 12.9%) compared with $39.3mil (GP margin 24.0%) in the corresponding six months of 2010.

The decrease in gross profit percentage was due to the increase in the Group’s tonnage sold from its processing facilities in 1H 2011 compared with 1H 2010. Rubber produced and sold from its plantation operations has a higher gross profit margin compared to rubber purchased from third parties for processing operations. The increase in sales revenue and tonnages sold in 1H 2011 over 1H 2010 was due to the 44,153 tons from its new subsidiariy, Teck Bee Hang, which currently has five processing factories.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Burning Money for the Love of Life

Flying to China on Singapore Airlines in August. I will first head to Shanghai then take a train to Beijing, from where I will fly back. It will cost me SGD 2,000 for this trip, bulk of the cost made up by the air ticket which cost me SGD 950. I am trying to clear my leave and see the world as much as possible this year, since before 2011, I hardly left the country.

For the moment, it seems my plan of accumulating more money will take a back seat, as I try to enjoy the life that I know had missed.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Working overseas: how much will you do it for?

I was playing mahjong with my friends over though the night on Friday and he told us that although we was planning to leave his job, his company had thrown a spanner in the works by offering to post him to Paris, France, on an urgent basis.

I understand that for his latest year of assessment, he paid close to $2,000 for taxes. He said that the company will give him an overseas allowance on top of his existing pay, lodging I assume will be paid for. How much will that work out a month for my friend on a annual basis?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Your views are welcome

Sorry for the slow down in content with regards to equities. There has not been much to write about stocks recently as the market has been rallying, but I did not do my research. If there is any company you wish that I cover, or offer my view on, do drop me a note at sgxstockpicker @ gmail dot com  .

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Presentation Monday - Let's Go Get'em

More frightening than Death
You might have heard of this before, maybe on an episode of Seinfeld, that public speaking is the number one fear of most people. I will be confronting that fear on Monday as I fly to KL to give a short presentation (4-5 slides) on my company to senior executives to two different potential clients.

Usually, the person doing the song and dance will be my boss but he has just gone for a scheduled holiday. I have sat in at the presentations that he has been giving, most of the time remaining silent as he has covered most of the ground. Saying other things will just make me sound silly, I think. He is also very experienced given his time with the big boys in the industry and that projects a sense of reliability to the person on the other end. And now the time has come for me to have to do my bit.

My preparation time is this short weekend. I will be having to read the reports done by both the main characters involved, the project approach and some background research as I expect out of scope questions to be asked. To a large extent, it is like going for a job interview, but the company's fortunes are resting on your shoulder. And did I mention that I have not been given the preparation training prior to this? Nonetheless, it is a good time for me to learn a lot more, although I will be for a world of pain when I come back to Singapore. Akan datang.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Busy Again - Portfolio Down

Life has been very wicked. I was for sometime, having relatively quiet moments in the office. Suddenly, after going for an unscheduled half-day on Wednesday, I am now due to fly in to KL on Monday for presentations. The work on my table has since stacked up above my head and it is a Friday.

Yes, the portfolio went down. Despite the short term rallies, the portfolio has not been able to benefit due to the large exposure to small caps. Greece announced its austerity measures Bill was passed yesterday, ensuring that it is on the way to foot its bill to the EU. I am hopeful that there will be short term dips that gives me the chance to buy-in, if I want to.

If by the next week, there are good volumes in the market, I believe that we are in for a strong if not at least firm finish, all the way till the end of the year.