Banks should stop share buybacks and cap their dividends
THREE weeks ago, I said in this column that I would be a buyer of Singapore bank stocks if they traded below their book values. When the buying opportunity that I defined presented itself recently, I began dipping my toe in the water, accumulating some shares in OCBC.
Supplementary Budget will 'flatten curve' of economic pain
THE S$48.4 billion "supplementary budget" unveiled by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Thursday will not avert a long and tough recession. But it could shield Singapore from being overwhelmed by the second-round effects of the sudden halt in economic activity in the face of the Covid-19...
Is overcoming Covid-19 a war that can be won?
SOME of the biggest news stories this past week were reminiscent of anecdotes I heard as a child from elderly relatives and family friends about the war years.
Lockdown a wake-up call for firms with workers living in JB
WHEN I was growing up, I lived in Johor Baru (JB) but attended school in Singapore. Some people said I had the best of both worlds. In reality, I lived in a world where I belonged to neither Malaysia nor Singapore and where I had to cope with rules constantly being made to suit other people...
Covid-19 market crash: What happens now?
IN the world of fickle, forward-looking financial markets, some of the top news headlines over the past week were not at all unexpected.
Prudential announces plans to list US unit Jackson National Life
PRUDENTIAL has unveiled plans to list its US unit Jackson National Life, two weeks after billionaire activist hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb called on the board of the giant insurance group to separate its Asian and US businesses.
Covid-19 will reshape economic thinking, create big buying opportunity
TWO months ago, when people were still referring to Covid-19 as "the China virus", global markets seemed ambivalent about the depth and duration of any economic slump that lay ahead. The initial sell-off in stocks was shallow and short-lived, though the US dollar was quietly strengthening.
Malaysian turmoil: A view from the market
IF THERE is any doubt that Malaysia's new prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin stumbled into his job unexpectedly, just look at the trajectory of Kuala Lumpur-listed Thriven Global's share price.
Reit mergers: Is NAV a useful guidepost of value?
LAST week, this column delved into the proposed merger of Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust and Frasers Commercial Trust, and concluded that the transaction will benefit FLT at the expense of FCOT. The key point of contention was that FLT will be issuing new units priced at a steep...
Will Dan Loeb turn Prudential into an AIA?
IF BILLIONAIRE activist investor Daniel Loeb's campaign to have Prudential Plc separate its Asian and US operations into two public listed companies gains traction, Singapore investors might briefly experience the thrill of having an insurance stock in the local market that trades like Hong Kong...
FLT-FCOT merger: Will market ethos trump fairness?
A FORTNIGHT ago, this column took a close look at the proposed merger of CapitaLand Mall Trust and CapitaLand Commercial Trust. Since then, some investors have asked what I think of the proposed merger of Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust (FLT) and Frasers Commercial Trust (FCOT).
Corporates should embrace Budget's farsightedness
AS Budget 2020 approached, it became increasingly clear that its key theme was going to be about cushioning the economy from the impact of Covid-19. So, for people who spend their time watching the markets, the whole event looked like it was going to be a snore.
Big run in Tesla a warning for dull Singapore market
AFTER hearing about all the money that some of my friends have made recently from trading shares in Tesla, I decided to listen to the company's Q42019 earnings call to see what all the fuss was about.
An open response to SGX's open consultation
THIS week, I plan to submit a response to the Singapore Exchange Regulation's consultation paper on its proposed enhancements to the regulatory regime for property valuation and auditors.
AirAsia, SembMarine react to remote law enforcement action
MALAYSIAN low-cost carrier AirAsia had to cope with really bad news this weekend, and it had nothing to do with the mysterious coronavirus roiling air travel across the region.
CMT-CCT merger: Should minority investors back the deal?
AT CapitaLand, the pursuit of strategic goals sometimes leaves minority investors in a quandary.
SGX RegCo proposals raise profile of ACRA, SISV
SEVERAL months ago, a major accounting firm refused my request to have one of its key people speak about the auditing field and the trouble that had engulfed Noble Group. I wasn't surprised. A number of other accounting firms had turned me down too. But the reason for their refusal left me...
China virus: Is there an opportunity for investors?
THE sad and terrifying news reports about the rising number of people who have been killed or sickened by the mysterious virus from China are beginning to exact a toll on global stock markets. Markets enjoyed a reprieve on Wednesday, but if the sell-off returns in the days ahead, many investors...
Shades of 2000 in digital bank initiative, Fed loosening
THE strong rally in US stocks over the last few months, and current giddiness in the start-ups space, is giving me a sense of deja vu. And, if history is any guide, it is probably time for investors to be wary.
What should investors do in 2020?
ALMOST exactly a year ago, as global markets were crumbling, US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell reminded us all how potent a force central banks can be.