Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Super Group rebound lifts July portfolio to +10.9% YTD

I really have to apologise for the lack of posts on the portfolio. This is not caused by a total meltdown of the individual stocks. Including dividends but excluding the May purchase of Super Group, the portfolio inched up 2.4% bringing year-to-date gains to 10.9%. The rebound in the price of Super Group as well as Envictus (former Etika) contributed to most of the capital appreciation.

About six months ago, I forecast that we would still be in the midst of a bear market with plenty of volatility. This proved to be wrong as the Straits Times Index has gained 5.5% on a year-to-date basis ending 23 July and is at its highest level of 2014. This is despite all macro indicators suggesting it should be otherwise.

I will be going for in-camp training soon and that will mean a lot of time away from the computer. This also means fewer postings. However, a
fter the in-camp training, I should be going on a fair bit of vacation. More travel posts on the way!

I have about SGD 7,000 free cash waiting to be invested. However, I have run out of ideas. This is not helped by a toppish feeling market. May be it is time for me to unload on some of the stocks that have very small dollar value. This is a theme that I have been running with for some time.

Elsewhere, I just found out that a new BTO will be built very close to my future BTO. That is very annoying because it will be blocking whatever view I have left. I do pity those already staying in the surroundings for they have to bear with even more construction works. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Why so many self-service laundry shops now?

Source: WonderWash
I recently visited the self-service laundry shop near my place to wash up my team's soccer jerseys. Altogether, it cost me about SGD 10 to wash a batch of 16 tops and some shorts. This did not fill up an 11 kg load. I have a washing machine at home and my reason for using the self-service laundry is that they have a drying machine. This eliminates the need for me to hang the clothes on to those bamboo poles. This is especially useful when you are washing the clothes of other people.

Personally, I think that the business model of a self-service laundry shop is very shaky. Granted that this is a capital-intensive venture as bulk of the capital is spent on the washing machine and dryers, with no onsite staff required, there is hardly a good flow customers where I am at. Maybe it is just my location.  Most Singaporean households here have a washing machine as they are relatively affordable, if not they hand wash their clothing. Furthermore, the weather here is good enough for hanging out to dry. There are some views as to why such shops have sprung up. Only time will tell if this new services takes off in Singapore.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Clearing thrash at Pulau Ubin

Our company has a special time off which we could use on any volunteer cause for up to a full day. One of the volunteer programmes that was floated about the emails was the beach clean up of Pulau Ubin. You can find out more about other beach clean ups here

We left our work stations mid-day and took a bus down to the sleepy Changi Village. Lunch was chicken rice although it did not fill our stomachs for the task for the rest of the afternoon. 

After reaching Pulau Ubin on a bum boat ride, we walked a short distance to the volunteer hub where NParks' staff gave us a briefing of the area we were cleaning up and the dos and dont's to watch up for when picking up the thrash.

We took a short ride to the beach site and spent 1 hour there. Initially, I thought that too many people had volunteered and there was not much thrash to be picked. I was very wrong. Within 30 minutes, we were already sweating as we were not used to the hot sun! By the end of the day, we had filled at least 30 thrash bags and picked up a chair along the way.

Returning to the mainland, my colleagues had a nice cold beer while I had nasi lemak. One of them commented that we could have stayed and pick up thrash for one more hour! However, I think the message from that short one hour resonated clearly - that we need to be mindful and not litter. the plastics we throwaway never disappear.