1st Post Of 2019.
Just realized that it’s been >1 month since my last post. Have been swarmed with work and life in general.
And what’d you know… Just as I was typing this post, I got this email:
LOL. Yea. Exactly 37mins ago.
Anyway, the 1st post in 2019 will be just a random mish mash of whatever comes to mind. Oh oh, I guess some results reporting is in order too.
But 1st up, part of the motivation for this post is to help the guys at SGX announce this .(belatedly, but better late than never).
I’d just literally cut and paste instead of trying to talk about it (cos I’m really tired right now):
I am pleased to inform you that the long-awaited new SGX.com will be officially replacing our existing website on 12 Jan 2019.
The new website features three key improvements:
- It is mobile responsive and device agnostic, being compatible with any smartphone, tablet or desktop device.
- It supports multi-lingual content, and is now available in both English and Chinese. More relevant languages will be added in future.
- The site interface, navigation and content structure have also been streamlined and improved. Some major improvements include the reduction of the number of page levels from 6 down to 3, and the total number of pages from 450 to 80. These changes will ensure that information is concise and easy to find.
One other key highlight is the implementation of smart data visualisation, which enriches our content and help users derive insights and trends more conveniently. Market data is also close to real-time update and the data refreshes automatically without requiring the users to click to refresh.
As a multi-asset exchange, we have a wide range of website users with different needs. This new sgx.com is our first step in upgrading our customer’s digital experience. Future developments in the pipeline include segment-specific portals – such as the emerging investor portal, issuer portal, and more. These will help us in catering tailored information and services to users with different specific needs.
New year, New site.
SGX has been working on their new site for some time actually, I rem they sent me some beta test site sometime last year. I guess being compatible with mobile devices is really important, these days, multi million dollar decisions are made on mobile huh.
So go check it out.
I’m not talking about investing and the stock markets, but the general business environment and the climate in SG. And specifically, for my personal businesses.
But then, here’s the kicker.
I’m always pessimistic this time of the year, when planning and doing the projections for the business for the whole year. Been like this since 2010. And each year, I keep thinking, how are we going to match the results of the prior year.
Yet… I’ve been wrong for the past 9 years! Every year showed both revenue and profit growth yoy. And in fact, 2018 was a record year. By far.
This is a plot dot chart of the business’ monthly revenue since 2010:
Maybe TA experts can tell me what they see. LOL. My interpretation… is that actually a sort of plateau is starting to form.
I guess, the past decade or so, since the GFC, has been just boom times for everyone.
Instead of celebrating though, it makes me more worried than ever. It just seems so hard. Cos if you think about it, the operating costs for businesses keeps rising every year. Without fail.
Just staff costs alone has to keep rising. Ask any salaried employee in SG. Are they happy with an increment that matches that of the previous year’s? Many are actually not. I’m not talking about no increment, I’m talking about a CONSTANT increment. Yet most of the staff I talk to, wants an increasing increment. The quantum may seem small, but think about it from the perspective of the organization.
It’s like swimming against a tide… except that the tide isn’t just a constant tide. It’s a tide that’s increasing in strength.
You see, the logical balance is that businesses must raise it’s selling costs every year. At least to match inflation right? Cos staff costs increase, rental costs increase, COGS increases. Yet, (At least in my experience) there are very few businesses that actually increase their prices every year. Maybe… only hawkers get to do that.
So most businesses increase their selling prices every couple of years, and try to increase it at a rate that it covers the inflationary costs over the previous couple of years.
At the ground level, I’m really not seeing how 2019 can match the results of 2018’s. I’m not expecting a catastrophe kinda crash or doomsday scenario… but growth is hard. It’s very hard. To achieve growth each year, you’ve to maintain what you’ve been doing… and build on it. Add something to it. Do something different. Or do it more efficiently.
Either way, it’s no status quo. It’s a constant struggle to find that something different from previous years, to provide that spark for that growth.
That’s just so tiring sometimes.
Investing wise… 2018 has been a forgettable year for TTI.
After leading the S&P and STI ETF for a large part of the year, my ROI ended up in the red for 2018, coming in at a sad -8.8%.
That compares unfavorably with STI ETF’s -7.03% for 2018 (inclusive of dividends)
Quite ironic right? I thought “8” is supposed to be huat. How come I got 2 of that and it feels so sucky?
I could’ve sworn it felt like I was ahead of the STI ETF. I guess the Nov/Dec market weakness hit the US markets much harder than SG’s, and with my now increasing exposure to US markets, my portfolio lost the lead in that last quarter.
That’s the bad news.
The good news though, and this is 1 helluva good news, is that…
I’m starting 2019 with a massive BANG.
How massive you say?
Freaking bombastically massive.
YTD, and I know it’s only been about 2 weeks into the new year, but my US stocks and options portfolio is up a massive 23.42% MWR!
That blue line on the chart above is TTI’s portfolio (non SG component), and in the past 2 weeks, it’s just been absolutely killing the competition.
The other lines are benchmarks that Interactive Brokers set… I’m not sure if they can be changed but I’d just follow. 1 of them is SPX, which is the S&P index and that’s the main benchmark I use. (That’s the lime green line)
The other 2 are:
iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA) (purple line)
Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT) (orange line)
Consequently, NAV has increased from USD 441,055.43 at the start of 2019, to the current USD 538,555.82, with zero capital injections in this period.
That’s an increase of USD 97,500.39 to my net worth since the start of the year!
The best 1 day return was on the 4th Jan, with a massive 7.32% return in a single day.
Now, this is just the US, and mainly options, portfolio, but SG is generally up too anyway, so I’m recording this as a big win thus far.
2 weeks gone, come on, let’s keep it like this for another 50.
As mentioned in earlier posts, my global options portfolio is likely to form a larger part of my overall portfolio going forward. As of today, it forms just under 40% of the overall portfolio, and will likely keep increasing over 2019.
So that’s all I have for the 1st post in 2019.
Blog posts will prob come once in a blue moon. Don’t really feel like documenting my DD these days. It’s so long and tedious. Energy and time is scarce.
P.S. To the reader above who emailed me: See? Blog’s not dead!