Translate This Page

Monday, February 16, 2009

Are you buying in equities??

Today top story in yahoo finance.....source

World market falls as Japan's recession deepens

LONDON (AP) -- World markets fell Monday, after new figures showed Japan's economy contracted at its quickest pace in 35 years and a weekend summit of Group of Seven finance ministers provided few concrete proposals to counter the economic crisis.

In European afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.6 percent to 4,165.31, Germany's DAX sank 0.3 percent to 4,400.23, and France's CAC 40 dropped 0.5 percent to 2,982.16. Trading was subdued as U.S. markets will remain closed for Presidents Day.

Japan's worse-than-expected fourth quarter GDP numbers were a sobering reminder of the toll the worst economic downturn in decades is having on Asia's export-driven economies. The world's second-biggest economy shrank 3.3 percent from the previous quarter, or at an annual pace of 12.7 percent.

In Europe, financial stocks dragged down markets. In London, shares in Lloyds Banking Group dived after the market open, following its revelation Friday of larger-than-expected losses at recently acquired Halifax-Bank of Scotland and on market fears the combined company may be headed for nationalization. Shares dropped 20 percent in early trading, but regained ground to trade down only 0.3 percent. Shares had dropped 30 percent on Friday.

Insurance companies also dragged the FTSE 100 down. Legal & General Group Plc fell 6.1 percent, Prudential lost 5 percent and Aviva slipped 4 percent.

"Whereas before people were just selling banks, now they are looking at the risk involved with other financials," said Jane Coffey, head of equities at Royal London Asset Management.

Investors also seemed disappointed after finance chiefs from the Group of Seven developed countries finished their meeting in Rome with pledges to work together to boost growth and unemployment, but stopped short of concrete measures.

Increasingly, investors are unconvinced world governments are acting quickly enough to counter the economic crisis, analysts said.

"The global recession is deeper than anticipated. At the same time policy makers are failing to deliver measures to address the problems," said Dariusz Kowalczyk, chief investment strategist for SJS Markets in Hong Kong. "It seems that what they're doing is too little too late."

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average edged down 0.4 percent to 7,750.17, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 0.7 percent to 13,455.88. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.4 percent.

India's benchmark tumbled 3.6 percent after the government, proposing its interim budget, offered no new stimulus measures. Markets in Australia and Singapore also retreated.

In Japan, several exporters were hurt by the data showing the economy sank deeper into recession.

The result represents the steepest drop for Japan since the oil shock of 1974 and outpaced GDP drops in the U.S. and the euro zone. A survey of economists by Kyodo news agency had projected an 11.6 percent annualized contraction.

"It's clearly very shocking data," said Clive McDonnell, head of Asia strategy at BNP Paribas Securities in Hong Kong. "The drop is certainly beyond our own quite negative expectations. (Japan's) policy response has not been as effective."

Shares in Toyota Motor Corp. lost 0.7 percent, while electronics heavyweight Canon Inc. slid 1.2 percent and Sony Corp. fell 1.3 percent.

Bucking the wider trend, Shanghai's benchmark climbed 3 percent to 5 1/2-month high to extend China's recent really.

Since the start of the year, Shanghai's index has risen more than 31 percent. But analysts say the rise has been driven not by economic fundamentals, but by a surge in bank lending that has sent money flowing into the market.

"The economic fundamentals are not strong enough to support the market's rise," said Zhang Xiang, an analyst for Guodu Securities in Beijing. "The market is in an irrational state, which is not going to last long."

U.S. equity markets are closed Monday for Presidents Day. On Friday, the Dow fell 1 percent to 7,850.41, its lowest close since Nov. 20. The S&P also fell 1 percent, ending its week off 4.8 percent.

In the coming days, investors will be watching President Barack Obama, expected to sign the country's $787 billion economic stimulus measure on Tuesday. He plans to outline steps to stem home foreclosures on Wednesday, though analysts say investor enthusiasm surrounding the pending announcement is fairly low.

Oil prices were steady after jumping 10 percent last week, trading 10 cents higher at $37.61 for a barrel of light, sweet crude for March delivery. The contract rose $3.53 to settle at $37.51 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Friday.

AP writers Jeremiah Marquez in Hong Kong, Tomoko A. Hosaka in Tokyo and researcher Bonnie Cao in Beijing contributed to this report.

So, the question again, are we seeing bottom or will there be another round of big big drop?? Another question people will ask is "Is it the suitable time to buy equities??" In fact, some people have been asking me over and over......"Are you buying in equities now?" Again, my answer would be, there is no right time to buy market and we will never know when is the bottom. Greed is the only answer to those questions.

We need to have different investment strategy at different economy environment. So, during recession, most people will stick with defensive stocks like high dividend yield stocks or REITS. It is actually the safest bet, and in fact most high dividend yield stocks will give you higher return compares to FD.

Another reason we need to buy during the uncertainties is because we can get bargain. Some blue chips counters in KLSE listing already drop about 40%-50%, some drop even more than that, while dividend counters' price are a lot cheaper now. People may argue that it may drop more......or we are still not seeing the bottom. But if we think this way, when are we going to buy equities? When the coast is clear??? Usually, by then the stock price already appreciate 20%-30%. Anothing point to ponder is in the meantime, where do you want to park your money?? FD again?

FD in the long run will give the lowest return compares to equities. And using FD to beat inflation, it can only means your money losing its value as time goes. Example is RM100k value will lose about 50% in 10 years given the inflation rate of 7% per year. But buying equities is different in a sense you are buying business and we all know the business run with inflation. Meaning to say, if inflation is 7%, a business is very likely to increase 7% at least.

Investing in the correct stocks requires one to do some basic research on the company and management. But it will be worth it because you are actually beating inflation by doing so. So, think about it, do you want to beat the inflation or let your money keep on losing value from time to time??? Are you buying in equities now?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Automobile Insurance & Auto Maintenance Cost Planning

I plan to write out a bit on the automobile or usually called car maintenance cost planning. This has come into my mind as recently I need to renew my car's road tax, which means that I need to purchase insurance for automobile as well. Well, I believe this is not something new, especially to car owners. But how many of us really know how much to insure our car or how to get the insurance for automobile quote? Most of us will take the easy way out to let our sales agent or friends to settle everything for us. I am one of the as well. Although my sister sort of like settle everything for me, but I, myself also go through the process as well. First, I need to get the auto insurance quote from her colleague based on my car's value in the market. One thing I realize is that the bankers have different valuation system, thus the auto insurance quote that I have is beyond my expectation. I did calculate the auto insurance using auto insurance calculator on some websites but based on my expected car value. But anyway, we finally settle the auto insurance based on the value that I want, which I'm quite glad to hear that so that the whole auto insurance thing will not affect my budget planning.

Back to the automobile maintenance cost, my cost planning includes fuel, service, wear and tear maintenance like tyres, loan installment as well as the auto insurance. My maintenance cost for each km based on the current fuel price is about RM1/km. Kind of high, but what to do. In Malaysia, without own transportation, I also wonder how we are going to work or go from one place to another. Some might say that maybe because I buy slightly expensive car, but for outstation traveling we actually need a more reliable car so that it will not break down so often. I won't be revealing my "Dark Knight".

Back to the topic again, most people forgot to take into account auto insurance, car's wear and tear and etc. Most of them only includes service cost and fuel, which will in turn make them to rake some unexpected expenses during some of the time. Accident occurs some time, which is why I do jack up the price for wear and tear, so that if it happens, at least the car expenses for each km that I drive will not differ much from my budget.

Do feedback me if I missed out something on the maintenance cost. I'm still in the process of learning.