Friday, August 16, 2019

Technology - Helpful or Dreadful?


So it seems POSB has recently revamp and launched a new version of its online banking app. With auto update, the app was replaced with this new version yesterday on my iPhone. Happy with this new cool look, I log in to perform some banking transaction only to find out their digital token authentication doesn't work anymore. No matter how hard I try (even logging into the web version), there is no other way to switch and authenticate via physical token. With no authentication, no transaction can be done and I was simply stuck... Only way (Calling the hotline simply take too much time) was to go down to the bank physically and get them to reset and re-link the digital token again on the spot. Yeah so much for technology. Rely on them too much and it can backfire on you. What is wrong with using the good old physical token? Well, looking at the reviews, looks like all other users are also hit with the digital token bug....

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Trump has done it again

Barely 1 month after agreeing to a ceasefire, Trump has fired off a sneak attack again using tariff increase to impose pressure on China to make a deal. To escalate the scale of attack, the 10% tariff will now include all imports of goods from China, effective 01-Sep, just when the next round of trade negotiation is going to take place. I still don't think that Trump understand how China works. Pressuring and threatening tactics will only make them hunker down and employ tit-for-tat measures. I believe China will not stay silence. For a start, they will likely pull off September negotiation and impose similar tariff to all USA imports. Let's see how China will response. Equity market are likely to be a downhill from now on.

Update 05-Aug
It is not surprising that Trump's tactics in negotiation: It is his way or the highway.

China is running out of things to tax, primary because they are exporting much more than importing goods or services. They may instead try other ways to punish USA, such as currency devaluation (slowly), control of rare earth export, placing American companies on an “unreliable entities list”, stop buying Boeing planes. It will be interesting how American companies response to such maneuver. Time will tell which methods China will undertake in response.

China Retaliation
Well, China wasted no time in coming out some counter measures.
  1. China asked state buyers to halt US agriculture imports, after Trump threatens fresh 10% tariff. This is going to hurt the USA farmer base, which has actively supported Trump. Ouch! 2020 presidential election coming....
  2. China Hits Back at Trump by Weakening Yuan. The central bank attributed the yuan move to protectionism and expectations of additional tariffs on Chinese goods, while saying it can still maintain a steady currency. Yup, a great excuse and a straight face palm to Trump. In fact, it is like saying, what USA are not buying, we can sell to other country where our goods are now cheaper. We do not depend on USA alone.
  3. (Update 24-Aug) While China worked for three weeks on its multi-tiered tariff response, Trump's promised retaliation - which came in a signature tweetstorm - was announced in less than 10 hours
Oh well, that again basically tell us for President Trump way of negotiation, it is his way or the highway. I doubt he has asked his administration for their measured response on a retaliation framework on China tariff announcement on 23-Aug. 10 hours to worked out a measured response for a No 1 world economy? You must be kidding me. I pray for the citizens of USA.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Disney's The Lion King


Synopsis: Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother — and former heir to the throne — has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his. [Source: Golden Village]


Well, after Aladdin, I have high expectation for Lion King, but unfortunately, this movie remake is just average. Singing is not really outstanding and the movie has nothing much to offer except the extremely life-like depiction of African scenes and animals. Kudos to that. Well, I think if you are here for the songs, the Lion King musical may be better. 

Rate: 6/10

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home


Synopsis: Peter Parker returns in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the next chapter of the Spider-Man: Homecoming series! Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation. However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent! [Source: Golden Village]


Not the typical Spider-man you are expecting, but this version is totally on its own, creating its own story and path. While it is quite refreshing to see a younger Spider-man in his teenage days, it is totally interesting to see a Spider-man with his identity compromised at the end of the show. Movie No 3 is definitely coming up, cant wait for it to be released. Action wise, it is doing pretty ok with the expectation of a Marvel film.

Rate: 8/10

Saturday, June 29, 2019

2Q 2019 Investment Strategy Update

For 2Q, USA pretty much dominated the headlines again, with Trump - China trade tariff threats, Trump - Mexico tariff threats, Trump - EU tariff threats. Note: I said Trump - XX tariff threats, and not USA - XX tariff threats for a good reason. This is Trump and his inner circles view alone and not the consensus of the major population and companies. Trump, as plain as all can see (I hope), does not accept losing as a word in his dictionary. I find this article quite a good read. Tearing up deals, burning bridges that predecessor painstakingly built is a common theme of Trump's rule for the past 3 years. I pray for the future presidents of USA to rebuild the relationship that was lost or soured just because of 1 man action. On a hindsight, because of the economic uncertainty due to the trade wars, I fear a recession (perhaps a mild one) could be coming soon. USA may truly need to start cutting its public debt to make it sustainable.

DJI ended at 26599, a rise of 671 points (+2.58%) compared to 1Q. For Singapore, STI ended at 3321, an increase of 109 points (+3.39%) compared to last quarter. Generally, the stock market has been shielded from the trade war that has been going on and USA economic results till now has been resilient to these negative news, as shown in the continue upward trends of stocks. However, market indicator of late has began to show signs of coming possible recession. Consumer and business confidence are dropping, Purchasing Managers Index has also been dropping, and more subtly defensive counter such as reits and high yield stocks are recording all time high in these past 2 months in Singapore, probably due to influx of fresh funds for less risky yields. (Update 01-Jul-19: This article summarises what I just said, looks like defensive counters rise is not limited to just Singapore market)

Trump has always view the USA economy and stocks performance as a report card for his president tendency. With the upcoming 2020 presidential election, I believe he will do anything to achieve that, probably proposing popular measures such as more tax cuts. I wonder how USA is going to fund the tax income shortfall except with piling more debt? Well, Trump certainly will not be around to solve this debt issue when it spiral out of hand. For the immediate 1 year (till 2020 where Trump's term will end), I believe the market will be leaning to positive due to Trump's positive interference. G20 meeting is currently on-going in Osaka, lets see if Trump will compromise with China to make a Great Deal that USA will win as what he has been trumpeting on. 

For Q2 2019, I am focused on opportunistic stocks that have an attractive price to enter and hopefully sell them off when I deem their full value is matched. With the recent CDP lending rule change, I will also be building up my current portfolio to meet the lending requirement: either $10,000 in market value per counter or holding 10,000 shares per counter. Hopefully, this can provide me with additional lending income.

Transaction 1: Bought in one batch of China Everbright in April and June.

China has been going on their environmental sustainability activities for some time and industrial waste treatment has been a long term project with increasing focus by the government. With this company effectively 70% state-own, they have been bagging projects after projects, with their recurring profits on managing the plant and treatment of the waste water on a 30 years Build-Operate-Transfer Scheme. On a hindsight, due to the low valuation they get on SGX, I think they may delist and shift entirely to HKSE in 1 year time.

Transaction 2: Participated in Fraser Centerpoint preferential share subscription in May.

Did not expect them to purchase the holding company of Asia Malls but this deal surely increase the value of FCT. Now, they have a pipeline of potential Asia Malls to purchase. The purchase of 33.3% interest in Waterway point has been a long time rumor and they managed to put it to reality with the purchase announcement straight after the Asia Mall holding company purchase. The last pipeline remaining is Northpoint City (South Wing). When will they call the purchase?

Transaction 3: Bought in one batch of Sasseur Reit in June.

Still find the 8+% yield tempting at current price. Just purchase this counter to beef the total holding to meet the CDP lending requirement.

That is all for now. See you all in Q3 2019 update and thank you for reading this long long post. =) Now, I need to think of the next 3 year plan (2020 - 2022) to grow my passive income.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Detective Conan: The Fist Of Blue Sapphire


Synopsis: In a series first, the movie will see Conan travel overseas to Singapore where he and Kaitou Kid become embroiled in a conspiracy involving a murder in Marina Bay Sands and the mysterious Blue Sapphire. [Source: Golden Village]


First time ever, a Conan animation movie based entirely on Singapore. Really interesting to see how our iconic MBS and Marina Barrage got destroyed in the animation during the criminal acts. There are also funny moments though, such as our Merlion throwing out blood. Haha, I am not sure if PAP is going to stomach that well. Nonetheless, a great movie once again! First time ever too, seeing Kaitou Kid walking openly into a trap.

Rate: 7.5/10

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

X-Men: Dark Phoenix


Synopsis: In DARK PHOENIX, the X-MEN face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite -- not only to save Jean's soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy. [Source: Golden Village]


Well, I kind of understand why they called it a flop at the US Box Office. First of all, this is the least epic X-men movie you will ever seen. There are no major fight scene or destruction that will give you a wow factor. Plus, if you have seen the previous movie about Jean Grey on X-men: The Last Stand, this will pale in comparison. Don't bother to stay till the end though, as there are no ending scenes. 

Rate: 6/10

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Disney's Aladdin


Synopsis: A thrilling and vibrant live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, “Aladdin” is the exciting tale of the charming street rat Aladdin, the courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine and the Genie who may be the key to their future. [Source: Golden Village]


It's really a magical ride from the beginning till the end, immersing the audience into a seemingly Broadway spectacular with beautiful songs after songs. The movie is well made and the genie played by Will Smith is simply hilarious. Cant wait for the Lion King next month.

Rate: 8/10

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Pokemon Detective Pikachu


Synopsis: The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe. [Source: Golden Village]


For the Pokemon fans out there, you probably will not miss this movie. Enough said. For the others, lets just say this Hollywood version of Pokemon is funny, light-hearted and the live action Pokemon surprisingly are cute! Plot is not that bad, the only downside is.... why there is no Chansey!! Well have fun watching the movie! Pika Pika!

Rate: 7/10

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Marvel Studio's Avengers: Endgame


Synopsis: The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to twenty-two films, “Avengers: Endgame.” [Source: Golden Village]



By order of Thanos, no spoilers allowed, or risk being cast off by the snap! But really, wow, what a surprise ending. No regrets watching the 3 hours movie! Now, the below quote from Avengers: Infinity War really do have such a heavy weight.

Dr. Strange says to Tony Stark: "I looked forward in time. I saw 14,000,605 futures."
Tony Stark: "How many did we win?"
Dr. Strange: "One".

Rate: 9.5/10

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Shazam!


Synopsis: We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam, courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. [Source: Golden Village]


Not exactly the kind of super superhero movie you expect but it still met the passing grade to entertain you while waiting for the Avengers "End Game" crowd to subside. It does feels like this Shazam! character was created somehow to fill in a void as the producers are getting their acts to decide what happens next to the main stream heroes. Shazam! for once doesn't seems all powerful but still have traits of other superheroes somehow combined into one. Well, nonetheless, an average movie to catch.

Rate: 6.5/10

Saturday, March 30, 2019

1Q 2019 Investment Strategy Update

1Q 2019 pretty much came and gone before I know it. Trump pretty went on his usual Twitter blaming people, saying things that were probably half true (Trade discussion with China are going well...), demanding things to go his way (I don't care, open up the closed GE Ohio plant already!), and even going soft on North Korea. I mean, when do USA ever have a president in the past that behaves like Trump? Well, stock market have mostly recovered from the mini bear last quarter as Fed have indeed bent to his will to give out indication that they are not going to raise the interest rate further this year, and just yesterday, Trump changes his mind and wants Fed to start dropping interest rates! Seriously, the Federal Reserve is supposed to be an independent organization free of political influence. Stop undermining them!

DJI ended at 25928, a rise of 2601 points (+11.15%) compared to 4Q. For Singapore, STI ended at 3212, an increase of 144 points (+4.69%) compared to 4Q. It has been widely reported that Trump views the USA economy and stocks performance as a report card for his president tendency. I believe he will do anything to achieve that. For the immediate 1 year (till 2020 where Trump's term will end), I believe the market will be leaning to positive due to Trump's positive interference. However, not everyone will be bending to Trump, as shown by the trade talk with China, which Trump keep saying is going well, but reality is IT is NOT concluding anytime soon, and could be dragging for months with the tariffs on both sides still in effect. 

For Q1 2019, I am just focused on opportunistic stocks that have an attractive price to enter and hopefully sell them off when I deem their full value is matched.

Transaction 1: Bought in a batch of Marriott in January and March.

After reports of data breach from a legacy Starwood system, Marriott price did tanked for quite a while as investor factored in the potential legal cost and penalty Marriott might faced in USA. But seeing their aggressive expansion plan for the next 3 years, I could not ignore the current attractive price and bought in the shares intending to hold for long term.

Transaction 2: Bought in a batch of Danaher in January.

Introducing to you the USA Six Sigma company called the Danaher Business System. I knew of Danaher from my 1st company work experience. Their mode of operation is to use their existing free cash flow to buy into companies that have synergies with their existing group of companies and literally conduct lean manufacturing exercise to weed out the extra fats that are dragging the company down. After acquiring the company, usually, they will keep the company brand if it is a well known product. Keep repeating this cycle many times, you will have a major conglomerate which investor will love! Well, their share price performances for the past 10 years definitely speaks volume.

Transaction 3: Bought in two batch of Manchester United in January.

Well, their price have dropped to a level which I think it is attractive, so I bought in two batches hoping to sell them off when I think their full value is met

Transaction 4: Bought in two batch of Amara in January.

I still have a little way to go with this counter. Going into 2019, their office and 100AM shopping mall Shanghai will start contributing to their financial result. Office take up rate has reached 90% after they signed a long lease with a single tenant. Transiting into landlord model which will have higher margin, I can't see why their share price won't go up in future, with even more likely chance to increase their annual dividend in end FY19.

Transaction 5: Bought in a batch of Apple in January and sold in March.

After reports of very weak consumer IPhone sale from China, Apple Inc share price dropped from US$232 to US$142. I personally think that the share is oversold, considering they still have their service App store segment that is going strong. I am only buying in at current attractive price and intend to sell them when I think their value is fully met.

Transaction 6: Bought in a batch of Mapletree Industrial in February.

Mapletree Industrial certainly surprise me with their purchase of the 18 Tai Seng mixed-use property from their sponsor parent company. Thinking that they might tap the public market for rights offer, I bought into the share hoping to scoop up additional rights share when it happened, but instead, they tap the private market for share offer. Well, they still have 2 more properties (7 Tai Seng & 18 Tai Seng) coming up in the pipeline, I am intending to hold for long term dividend growth.

That is all for now. See you all in Q2 2019 update and thank you for reading this long long post. =)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel


Synopsis: Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios Captain Marvel is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universes most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom. [Source: Golden Village]


Overall, a well made Marvel thriller that provides the back drop to the upcoming Avengers: Endgame that is premiering on 26-Apr-19 and follows through the introduction of the new character (Captain Marvel) at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. It was interesting to see how Avengers started and how Nick Fury obtained the scar on his left eye. A must watch before Avengers: Endgame!

Rate: 8/10

UK Day 9 - Touring London Streets

02 Mar - Today was a free and easy day for us to roam the streets of London, so it was decided to set our compass to head towards Big Ben and River Thames. According to the morning weather forecast, gloomy London is set to welcome an incoming storm system that is already bringing wet weather on the western coast of UK. The clouds are scheduled to arrive in London by evening time. With no time to lose, we quickly finished our breakfast and off we go to visit the tourist spots!

Pass by one of Victoria station entrance which looked like an elephant

Westminster Cathedral, the largest Catholic church building in England and Wales

Westminster Abbey, a Gothic abbey church and one of the United Kingdom's most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs.

Main entrance of Westminster Abbey. As there are too many tourists, we just took photos of the site and off we go

Big Ben under restoration

Another shot of Big Ben from another angle

London Eye across the river

A monument remembering the people who lost their life defending UK in World War 2

Another monument remembering World War 1 & 2. At last, the sun is out!

Leicester Square, where we had our Lobster & Burger! Amazingly nice!

Chinatown

Managed to catch another musical "Waitress"

Photo taken of the "Waitress" stage

After a long walk from the Adelphi, we finally reached the fame London Bridge, where the familiar nursery rhymes began...."London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down...."

The Shard

Tower Bridge, a combined bascule and suspension bridge built between 1886 and 1894.

Friday, March 15, 2019

UK Day 8 - Windsor Castle, Stonehenge & Oxford

01 Mar - We woke up early in the morning getting ready for a day tour that we have signed up which will bring us to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge & Oxford City, the 3 iconic places to visit in London. First stop - Windsor Castle, which is basically a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture.

Windsor Castle entrance

We are fortunate! Royal standard flag being flown means the queen is in!

Past castle moat being turned into a beautiful garden

St George Chapel, where royal weddings are held. Prince Harry & Meghan Markle got married here in 2018!

Windsor Castle exit gate

Chanced upon a pair of horses walking down the road. =)

Windsor Royal Shopping Street - Mostly high end stuffs....

Replica of the old locomotive that used to ply the Windsor and Eton Central

A portrait of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

Next stop, Stonehenge where we get to marvel at how ancient people transported these stones that can weighed as much as 3 tons from their excavation site some 200km away. Well, at least they have built a nice path around the Stonehenge for tourists to take pictures so that these stones are not cluttered with people.



Capturing a flock of birds taking off

Last stop, Oxford City, which is where the University of Oxford is located. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate notable examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period. I guess this really sets the mood for students to study. This is also the place where the Hogwarts Library and the Great Hall in Harry Potter's films are set.

Welcome to Hogwarts!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

UK Day 7 - Gloomy London and Wicked

28 Feb - We did not stay long in Manchester as there is nothing much to do here. The next day, we checked out of our hotel and depart to London. This time, we need to walk a little longer to a different station (Manchester Piccadilly Station) for our Virgin Trains. The train stations in UK are so nice looking, as can be seen in the pictures below.

Manchester Piccadilly Train Station

Virgin Trains First Class Seats. First Class Tickets usually comes with a complimentary meal on board, refreshments, snacks and charging station.

London Victoria Station

London Subway "Underground"

London is also another city well known for their Broadway musical shows. We have already secured our tickets in advance for "Wicked" back in Singapore, which really shows how enthusiastic we are. As we need to collect one of the tickets physically at the counter booth, we decided to check out the Victoria Apollo Theater a few hours in advance.

Victoria Apollo Theater

With some time to spare, we also check out the surrounding vicinity.

Little Ben

Victoria Palace showing Hamilton

We also checked out Buckingham Palace in its evening light and get a taste of why England is always considered gloomy - the sky forever is filled with dark clouds which threatened to rain.....

Victoria Memorial

Buckingham Palace

Closer shot of Victoria Memorial

Buckingham Palace from another angle