Friday, May 31, 2013

Biting the bullet on Noble Group and Wilmar

I will be going for a holiday from tomorrow onward and only be back on June 10. However, I am very tempted to sell off my stake in Noble Group and Wilmar International today and use the proceeds to increase my holdings of Petra. As mentioned earlier, I think that we are in the down cycle of the commodities boom and unless there are further acquisition targets or assets to be injected, it is time to close a chapter on this play. Although I have incurred an almost 20 per cent loss on the stock, cutting loss will be the better option. It seems that as the portfolio gets bigger, my appetite for "riskier" stocks has decreased because on an absolute basis, the fluctuations in portfolio value are nauseating.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Global Corporate Challenge - 10,000 steps a day

My company is part of the Global Corporate Challenge where in groups of seven, I am suppose to log the number of "steps" I make each day over a 16 period on to their website. The GCC Pulse (seen above) is a very high tech pedometer that was given as part of the challenge. The steps can come from everyday movement such as walking, jogging or even dancing. I guess the idea here is to get people off there chairs and continually moving. You are suppose to clock at least 10,000 steps each day. I suppose that is the minimum requirement for an active lifestyle.

And to make it interesting, you compete with other teams from other parts of the world and the total steps taken as a team will move you virtually from Rio de Janeiro, around the world. There are ways to cheat but that defeats the purposes of the challenge, that is to have a healthy lifestyle. Personally, I find it interesting to be able to log the number of "steps" I make each day and it so happens that the first day of the challenge was on the even of the Vesak Day. This would mean that the count for the day would no be representative of a typical office day. Furthermore, I will be going for holiday soon and that would mean more walking and less sitting around. I guess I will lose some weight and find correlation between the steps taken. What gets measured, gets managed.

If you company is not part of this Global Corporate Challenge, I suggest you highlight it to your management. I do not think it will come cheap give that it comes with a website and two GCC Pulse. But it is worth a shot.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Is the commodity boom over?

I took a look at my portfolio as was not happy with what I saw. Despite a strong run up on the Straits Times Index to close to 3,500, my stocks have not been moving likewise, particularly Noble Group and Wilmar International, which are down more than 10 per cent since I bought. My urge to sell stocks in the commodity sector is driven by the negative academic readings on the sector as a result of me preparing for my school essay. I guess the commodity super cycle has to end some where than continue in perpetuity. Perhaps I will also sell those stocks which are worth less than SGD 3,000 in total, to make the portfolio efficient. But I will have to come back to the issue of what stock I should buy, and this perplexes me a lot. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thoughts on the Singapore HDB market

The new house will only come at the end of 2016 although the date of legal possession is the end of 2017 based on advice gathered from the Internet forums on the HDB Singapore market.  So far, I have put down 5% in down payment and some stamp duty totaling about $50,000 and that is a material interest in the market.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Should you reveal your pay at the initial job interview?

I was having drinks with my colleagues and one of them shared the experience of a interview at a local statutory board. At the first interview, one of the two interviewers asked for my colleague's current salary. My colleague was very annoyed given that it was just the first round of interview and refused to reveal any figures. Although he felt good vibe coming from the non-probing interviewer due to his technical fit, my colleague was not offered the job.

Why do HR-types and recruitment consultants always ask about your pay? This is because they want to collect data to find out about the market rate (especially recruiters!) so they that the company can manage budgets as well as show their own bosses that they are not overpaying for their hires.

Friday, May 10, 2013

How to use up your old Singapore coins

In case you have not heard, the MAS will be phasing out the old coins and replacing them with the ones shown above. While depositing them into the bank would be one option, I think there might be a small charge on the total amount deposited (I could be wrong). I did think of giving away to kids on flag day but I realise this sight of physical money makes me more attached to it and reluctant to give it away. Perhaps I should withdraw my salary and pay everything in cash, I would save more.

As such, I have brought about SGD 80 worth of coins to the office, hoping to use them when possible. The dollar and 50 cents coin will be easy to use up but less so the 20, 10 and 5 cents denominations. Tentatively, my strategy to deal with this would be to pair every 2 dollar note with up to 1 dollar worth of coin. I know this sounds a bit crazy, but when you do realise how much coins you can accumulate, you will start becoming more conscious. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Adsense income of SGD 131.25

After close to two years since the last payment, I received a SGD 131.25 from Google for the blog. I am not in this for the money but I think for all the things that I have written, that amount sure is pathetic compared to other bloggers! Perhaps, that is a reason why I am blogging less frequently.

Anyway, AGM season is coming to a close, meaning no more free food. More importantly, resolutions concerning dividend payment will be passed and most of us should be receiving payment later in May.

The portfolio fell close to 7 per cent month-on-month and on a year-to-date basis, I am flat. The way I am monitoring my portfolio, I cannot be sure which individual stocks have performed on a month-to-month basis. I guess I have to scout around the net for such an application.