How I started investing in shares?
In 1983 I had my heart bypass surgery in London. While recuperating in Harley Street Hospital, I read from the newspaper that the Hong Kong stock market crashed because Margret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister failed to secure the extension of British rule of Hong Kong. The British had a 99 years lease of Hong Kong and a part of Kowloon. The lease was expiring and the Chinese Communists would soon take over.
Everyone was afraid and everything was on cheap sale. The stock market crashed.
At that time, I did not know how to select shares basing on the fundamental criteria of value investing. I did not know how to invest for long term or short term or timing the market to hit and run. I just bought shares that went down the most in terms of percentages. You can say that I started blindly.
As soon as China agreed to offer 50 years extension of capitalist system, the Hong Kong stock market rebounded and I sold all the shares I bought initially with more than 200% profit. With all the proceeds, I bought HSBC and other better known shares. After about 2 years, I made so much money that I bought 46% of the small stock broking company in Hong Kong that gave me margin finance which help me make more profit.
After this short experience in Hong Kong, I decided to retire as Managing Director of Mudajaya and be my own boss. Why should I work so hard when it is so easy to make money from the stock market? Moreover, all my profit is tax free and I don’t have any management problem. I do not need to deal with people which I find most difficult.
After my retirement, I have more free time to read. I have learned the investment philosophy of Warren Buffet, Peter Lynch, Benjamin Graham and others. I found the best book is called “Valuegrowth Investing” by Glen Arnold.
What is value growth investing? It means that the best stock to buy must be undervalued and it has strong profit growth prospect.
What is long term investment?
If I ask you all what long-term investing mean to you. I might get many different answers. Some may say 10 to 20 years, while others may consider five years to be a long-term investment. Individuals might have a shorter concept of long term, while institutions may perceive long term to mean a time far out in the future. This variation in interpretations can lead to variable investment styles.
For investors in the stock market, it is a general rule to assume that long-term assets should not be needed in the three- to five-year range. This provides a cushion of time to allow for markets to carry through their normal cycles. However, what’s even more important than how you define long term is how you design the strategy you use to make long-term investments. This means deciding between passive and active management.
Investors have different styles of investing, but they can basically be divided into two camps: active management and passive management. Buy-and-hold strategies – in which the investor may use an active strategy to select securities but then lock them in to hold them long term – are generally considered to be passive in nature.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, numerous active management techniques allow you to shuffle assets and allocations around in an attempt to increase overall returns. There is, however, a strategy that combines a little active management with the passive style. A simple way to look at this combination of strategies is to think of a backyard garden. While you may plant different crops for different results, you will always take the time to cultivate the crops to ensure a successful harvest. Similarly, a portfolio can be cultivated along the way without taking on a time-consuming or potentially risky active strategy.
When it comes to market timing, there are many people for it and many people against it. The biggest proponents of market timing are the companies that claim to be able to successfully time the market. However, while there are firms that have proved to be successful at timing the market, they tend to move in and out of the spotlight, while long-term investors like Peter Lynch and Warren Buffett tend to be remembered for their styles. Studies have shown that most day traders cannot outperform the market index because of the transaction cost.
The Bottom Line
If volatility and investors’ emotions were removed completely from the investment process, it is clear that passive, long-term (20 years or more) investing without any attempts to time the market would be the superior choice. In reality, however, just like with a garden, a portfolio can be cultivated without compromising its passive nature. Historically, there have been some obvious dramatic turns in the market that have provided opportunities for investors to cash in or buy in.
My investment style
Basically my style is a mixture of all the above mentioned strategy including the use of margin finance to increase my profit. With due respect to professional fund managers, they consider current earning EPS the most important criterion. But, I consider future profit growth prospect is more important. For example, Jaya Tiasa which has very poor current earning but it has tremendous profit growth prospect. That is why it has gone up about 30% in the last few months.
It is easier for me to explain by showing you the shares I own and how I manage them. In view of the sustainable palm oil price increase in the near future, most of my investment are plantation shares eg Jaya Tiasa, Kulim, TH Plantations and Sarawak Plantations. Besides plantation, I have about 20% worth of my total investment on Mudajaya, MFCB and Success Transformers. I have only 7 counters so that I can closely keep track of them.
All my shares are pledged for margin finance. I normally use up to about 80% of the allowable limit.
How do I use Price Charts
I do not use charts to trade frequently. I only look at the long term price charts to buy shares that have been depressed for a long time. For example, Kulim is now selling at around Rm 3.50 which is lower than the average price in the last 3 years. This is simply not logical. It the last 3 years, Kulim’s plantation land especially those in Johore must have appreciated in value. Moreover, Kulim would have planted more oil palms and also made profit in the last 3years. I believe the price of Kulim will soon be re rated.
How I take advantage of the share price fluctuation
It is important to note that any share cannot continuously go up or come down for whatever reason. I must take advantage of this phenomenon to make money. For example, I have sold some Jaya Tiasa because it has gone up 30% within a few months so that I have funds to buy Kulim, TH Plantations and Sarawak Plantations which have been depressed for a long time. Jaya Tiasa is still my largest holding.
Please note that all the shares I bought are meant for long term. But it does not mean that I cannot sell them to get money to reduce my borrowing or to buy some other shares which are relatively cheaper.
Those who wish to know more about my investment style or have questions to ask, please attend my seminar on 1st June as according to my announcement.