Taking a break of three weeks

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Stock markets did well in 2017 so far

About a year ago, the global stock markets went through some kind off seizure. The indices were tumbling horribly.

Since the start of 2017, the stock indices jumped double digits from the lows of 2016. See table for comparison from 12 February 2016 against 9 March 2017.

Stock Indices 12-Feb-16 9-Mar-17 Change
Nasdaq (USA) 4,337.51 5,838.81 34.6%
Germany DAX 8,967.51 11,967.31 33.5%
Dow Jones (USA) 15,973.84 20,858.19 30.6%
Nikkei 225 (Japan) 14,952.61 19,318.58 29.2%
FTSE100 (UK) 5,707.60 7,334.61 28.5%
Hang Seng (HK) 18,319.58 23,501.56 28.3%
S&P 500 (USA) 1,864.78 2,364.87 26.8%
Mumbai BSESN 22,986.12 28,929.13 25.9%
CAC 40 (France) 3,995.06 4,960.48 24.2%
STI (Singapore) 2,539.95 3,118.84 22.8%
Australia All Ordinaries 4,816.60 5,780.50 20.0%
Taiwan Weighted 8,063.00 9,658.61 19.8%
Shanghai Composite 2,763.49 3,216.75 16.4%
Kospi (Korea) 1,835.28 2,091.06 13.9%

The Straits Times Index (STI) jumped 22.8%.

The table below shows the year-to-date change from end of 2016 to now.

Stock Indices 30-Dec-16 9-Mar-17 Change
Mumbai BSESN 26,626.46 28,929.13 8.6%
Nasdaq (USA) 5,383.12 5,838.81 8.5%
STI (Singapore) 2,880.76 3,118.84 8.3%
Hang Seng (HK) 22,000.56 23,501.56 6.8%
S&P 500 (USA) 2,238.83 2,364.87 5.6%
Dow Jones (USA) 19,762.60 20,858.19 5.5%
Taiwan Weighted 9,253.50 9,658.61 4.4%
Germany DAX 11,481.06 11,967.31 4.2%
Shanghai Composite 3,103.64 3,216.75 3.6%
Kospi (Korea) 2,026.46 2,091.06 3.2%
FTSE100 (UK) 7,142.83 7,334.61 2.7%
CAC 40 (France) 4,862.31 4,960.48 2.0%
Australia All Ordinaries 5,719.10 5,780.50 1.1%
Nikkei 225 (Japan) 19,114.37 19,318.58 1.1%

STI was up 8.3%.

The global stock indices were all positive from the start of this year. The global investors are now positive with the global economies driven mainly by the US economy. China economy and its stock market have stabilised. Oil prices had improved since the later part of last year. This was not the case at the start of last year.

Copyright © 2017, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

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“The Sign of Four” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – A Book Review

This full-length novel was first published in 1890. The author of this Sherlock Holmes’ detective story was born in 1859 and died in 1930. Readers could experience lives in England in that ancient era through his narration of the unusual story of deaths, treasures, and betrayal that spanned two generations.

The title “The Sign of Four” is a mystery to start with. You could not imagine the story is all about just by reading the title. The reward is there when you read till the end of the book.

This is also the story where Dr. Watson met his wife. It also dwells on the peculiar habits of Sherlock Holmes.

This book is a neat 152 pages story. It is neither too long nor short to capture the reader’s interest in the mystery of the case.

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Performance of STI stocks after 2 months into 2017

The Straits Times Index (STI) was up 8.4% since the start of 2017. Some STI component stocks had outperformed in a big way than the STI increase, like Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (+33.7%), Keppel Corp (+23.8%) and Global Logistics (+21.4%).

We were into two months of trading this year. Most stocks were doing well. This performance was after the release of Quarter 4 results of 2016.

The SPDR STI ETF was up 6.1% tracking the increase in STI (+8.4%). 

Stock 30/12/2016 03/03/2017 Change
YZJ Shipping 0.815 1.09 33.7%
Keppel Corp 5.79 7.17 23.8%
Global Logistics 2.20 2.67 21.4%
Jardine Matheson (USD) 55.25 65.99 19.4%
CapitaLand 3.02 3.53 16.9%
SembCorp Ind 2.85 3.29 15.4%
City Dev 8.28 9.54 15.2%
ST Engr 3.23 3.66 13.3%
Thai Bev 0.85 0.935 10.0%
SIA Engr 3.37 3.70 9.8%
Ascendas Reit 2.27 2.49 9.7%
DBS 17.34 19.01 9.6%
UOL 5.99 6.52 8.8%
Genting Singapore 0.905 0.98 8.3%
Hongkong Land (USD) 6.33 6.84 8.1%
Jardine C&C 41.23 44.13 7.0%
Sing Tel 3.65 3.90 6.8%
OCBC 8.92 9.49 6.4%
UOB 20.4 21.54 5.6%
CapitaComm Trust 1.48 1.545 4.4%
SGX 7.16 7.47 4.3%
CapitaMall Trust 1.885 1.945 3.2%
SATS 4.85 5.00 3.1%
SIA 9.67 9.92 2.6%
StarHub 2.81 2.88 2.5%
Comfort Delgro 2.47 2.51 1.6%
Wilmar Intl 3.59 3.64 1.4%
SPH 3.53 3.47 -1.7%
HPH Trust (USD) 0.435 0.385 -11.5%
Golden Agri-Res 0.43 0.375 -12.8%
STI ETF 2.94 3.12 6.1%
STI 2,880.76 3,122.34 8.4%

Copyright © 2017, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

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Why is hike in water price such a hot issue?

First, water affects EVERY single one living in Singapore from individuals in the households to coffee shop owners and to businesses trying to fight business cost increases.

Second, the quantum of price increase is 30% in two phases as the headline number provided in the main Budget speech. More details were provided in the Annex of the Budget Speech but were not elaborated upon. To many people including businesses, 30% jump is hard to stomach after 17 years of no increase.

Third, if water is a scarce resource and of national security and the idea is to get consumers to conserve water usage, there are other ways to achieve besides water price increase. Why increase water prices and then offer U-Save subsidies to offset price increases of consumers staying in HDB flats (including all flat types up to Executive flats)? Isn’t that defeating the purpose?

Fourth, if cost of production of water has increased over time with new ways of processing water like NEWater and desalination, water tariff can gradually increase over time much like the adjustable electricity tariff and not as a lump sum at one go.

Water Conservation Tax

There is this element known as Water Conservation Tax in total water bill. Currently, it is set at 30% on water usage (water tariff). This tax will rise to 50% come 1 July 2018. For users of water, they can conserve water usage and reduce the conservation tax in dollar term. This is fair as everyone from those staying in public housing to private residential property is treated equally in national water conservation effort. (Much like GST concept, you use less you pay less) Subsidies should not be given on this.

Matter of Public Communication

The unhappiness of the people can be reduced if public communication by the government can zoom in on the need to conserve water since it is of vital national security. When this is considered, the price increase can be addressed only fairly and not as it is now.

Carrot and stick approach to water conservation

The stick is in the form of water conservation tax. I can offer a suggestion on a carrot approach. Offer cash rewards on conservation effort to consumers of water. If a household can reduce water consumption by x percentage (x is number) from its last year’s recorded monthly average, reward the household with cash to offset its water bill for the month. With reduced usage of water at national level because of the incentives, production of water can be reduced. Money drives behaviour better than just talk of importance of conserving water.

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“The Return of Sherlock Holmes” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – A Book Review

When you thought that Sherlock Holmes had died in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s previous book, ‘The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes”, he appeared mysteriously in “The Return of Sherlock Holmes”. Holmes did disappear together with Professor Moriarty in the Reichenbach Fall. Holmes was presumed dead with the likelihood that he and Moriarty would not have survived after falling in Reichenbach Fall. However, the great consulting detective Sherlock Holmes was ‘resurrected’ and came back alive to tell how he cheated death in the very first short story of the book. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes continued with thirteen mysteries in the “Return of Sherlock Holmes”. You cannot ask for more as each mystery was beyond one’s imagination as to the ending and the reason for the crime having taken place. And there are thirteen to satisfy one’s craving.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had the knack to create a story that baffles and with seemingly no solution to crack the case. He had the whole story in one piece from start to the end. He then dissected it up and released only parts of the evidence at the crime scene. That was his unique skill set to lay out just enough for readers to think deep and to frustrate their investigative minds. At the end of the story, one was relieved by the ingenuity of the case.file_000

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Pulse of the economy – look into SPH

Have you noticed that the Classified section of The Straits Times was thinner and lighter in recent times? This was borne out by the announcement made by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) on the first quarter financial results ended 30 November 2016. It showed that the advertising revenue declined 13.5% year-on-year.

When Singapore economy is good, advertisement spending by companies and individuals tends to go up. If you want to know how the current economy is performing, look no further than the performance of SPH. There was a cutback on advertising dollars. When time is hard, the first thing to go is advertising to save operating costs and to conserve cash. Even it is counter common sense since advertising and promotion is to improve sales of companies, advertising is still cut.

Copyright © 2017, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

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