Monday, August 22, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Everyone knows an Elephant Doesn't Forget! (Evernote Logo)
Their taglines are:
- Remember Everything
- Capture Anything
- Access Anywhere
- Find Things Fast
Excellent for the road warrior always on the move and if you don't have a pen, whip out your smartphone and why not just take a picture of it or audio record telling yourself what you need to do. Then, if you're away for your phone, you can always log in online to check your to-do list via your desktop or through your other devices. Basically, pens are now so 20th century, yo!
You can ever share notebooks with people to share information(think shopping list)/to-do-list. Basic stuff. Don't expect to run a project via Evernote basic.
To top it off , it's free on both the Apple and Android market! With premium (USD 5 a month or 45 a year), you get 1 gig of space, upload more file types - MSword, Video and you can even corroborate on projects via Evernote!
Other competitors which do pretty-much the same thing include Colour Note and Spring Pad. I have not done comprehensive testing on those apps except for some playing around with Spring Pad. One good thing is Spring Pad seems more colourful and is more interesting-looking by giving the option of using colour-coding. Evernote can be abit dull looking with its grey+green theme at times.
For my next 2nd part of this App series, I shall discuss a real-powerful tool and a personal favourite of mine - Dropbox. Catch me next week!
An intro video on Evernote by a 3rd Party.
Full Discloure: Yet, another unsolicited post!
Sunday, July 17, 2011
As part of their marketing, Sunway Tes and AB maximus held yet another preview talk at Sunway last Saturday. Yet, there are some Investment-related insights which I picked up and discuss in some detail here.
Retail Investors(ie: you and me)
One interesting point was when Mr. Th'ng was ranking the order of investors for equities and it went somewhat like this:
- Institutional Investors
- Corporate Investors
- Syndicates (yes, they are in every market even KL)
- Retail Investors ===> That's you and me!
Basically, he was making the point that we retail investors have very little advantage going for us.The other investors above the pecking order not only have the experience and knowledge but all the information needed right at their fingertips. What possible advantage can we have over these other investors?
(Yet interestingly, majority of fund managers don't beat the markets, so what edge do you have over than them?)
In fact, maybe none except long term holding. ie: for retirement as opposed to a mutual fund which has to make good returns annually Of course, this was coming from a self-proclaimed fan of Buffet(read: value investor) but he makes a good point on what little advantage you and I as retail investors have.
So? We have to be patient. Chances are information-wise we lose out to the syndicates, insiders and the big boys at the top as they have teams of researchers and what not behind them.
That's easier said then done, of course- Stocks being easily traded with a click of mouse these days, making it even more of a game running on emotions rather than rational decision making.
If you grow impatient, you may sell although the time frame you set out has not been met. So, that for me was an interesting reminder on what (little) advantage we retail investors have.
Also, at the end, he had a Q&A where he raised and addressed 2 interesting questions(funnily he posed to himself - see pic):
1) Fundamental or Technical Analysis - Which is better?
Mr Th'ng gave a good analogy - It's like Shaolin kung-fu. If you have a different style (crane, tiger, mantis, etc), doesn't really matter as long as you can defend yourself right? So, whatever works for you. As a Buffet fan or a CFA holder, that would usually mean fundamental but personally, the speaker uses both.
2) Will computers take over human jobs (in this field)?
Nowadays, trades are carried out automatically by computers. In fact the 2010 flash crash of the DOW recently (wikipedia here) was caused by such a sell programme that triggered other trades. Some firms out there deal with High Frequency Trades (HFTs) where trades are automated with programmes that pick up data and act on it.
However, this does not necessarily the end of our jobs - you still need a human to key in such data and formulas, no?
That aside, I know will go in my thoughts about the CFA part-time lectures offered by Sunway-Tec + AB Maximus (with Stalla materials):
CFA Part-time Lectures
This has been my 2nd preview lecture and the pricing for their weekend classes is RM4000 and RM 3600 for individual and corporate sponsored respectively. It includes revision and mocks. Sorry, don't have the sheets with me atm and can't find it online for exact details.
The lecturers so far have been impressive and the Stalla materials look impressive in the two preview lectures I have been. Also, Sunway is not too far compared to say Kasturi and the other Management College in KL apparently offering CFA classes too.
Unfortunately for me, it clashes with work on Saturdays so I might just settle for self-study with the Cafepacer (www.cafepacer.org) and maybe the Studymaster (thousands of questions to try out) and see where I get this December.
Oh for the other candidates out there, one question was posed:
Schweser or Stalla Schweser apparently is more concise and hence, suited for the time-strapped candidate. Stalla has been around longer but is more detailed. Sunway-TEC will be using Stalla so they endorse Stalla obviously.
Full Disclosure: This is an unsolicited/unsponsored post.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
One thing which resonates with me:
"On challenge: Most dentists and doctors know what they're doing. They deal with problems they know they can fix. I don't want that. It's in my nature to move toward the really hard problems that haven't yet been solved."
Really excited by the technological advances made by tablets. Just finished reading - Designing for the Ipad - Building Apps that Sell. Looking at this from an angle of maybe building a killer-app in what little spare time I have..? *shrugs*
It's just really exciting how it's a whole new frontier- how the iPad really much is a tabula rasa and innovative ways its being used to not only consume but also generate content are being created (think music instruments with the ipad) or yet to have been created! Then again, perhaps the writer is right in saying it's very much a 'gold rush'. May spend lots of time and all you get is - dust.
Source of quote: Morgan Housel (a writer for the Fool I also respect) covers Charlie's thoughts on the world in two parts can be found here:-
Check out here for Part 1
and... Part 2
Also, you can check out - Charlie Munger on How to Become Rich. - Very realistic down-to-earth advice.
In life, to get ahead, we have to seek mentors. Why not Charlie Munger as one of them?
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Yet, you still have the former world's richest man, Bill Gates advocate that it will be Nuclear not Green Technology which can save the world from global warming by reducing carbon admission to 0%. Basically, his message is that a tremendous change has to come and most likely it will come from Nuclear Energy not Green Technology which may sound good but does too little good.
Read more here:
Also, the Ted Vid: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/bill_gates.html
Demand-side there is another concern- Germany is phasing out all of its nuclear energy and this would reduce demand for uranium goes the bears.
Yet, India and China are still going overdrive into nuclear energy. It will come a day when China will be churning out one nuclear plant every two weeks. Read bloomberg here - "China and India will lead a 46 percent increase in consumption by the world’s five biggest atomic-power developers by 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. "
On the supply side, the supply of uranium from decommissioned weapons will be reduced after 2013 from Russia.
Give these two separate demand and supply dynamics, are people just over-reacting and reeling from the Japan Nuclear/Tsunami disaster and the policy knee-jerk, perhaps uranium is a Buy Opportunity.
Until another fuel substance than can trump Uranium comes along, I'm inclined to think so, yes, buy.
For deeper Uranium-themed investment ideas, read Howard Ruff's opinion on the Ruff Times here.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
" Save. Earn interest on those savings. Be a disciplined saver. Understand the distinction between investment and expenditure. "
Although this is probably more in the context of the US being in its over-indebted state, there is a personal moral behind this - save more, spend wisely.Words to the wise.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
MEGB is also listed there a pick along with HELP international.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Been busy lately with my new job which basically deals with sales... but the good news is that I've been reading alot of sales book and I would love to share what I have learnt and review these books too.
Of course, if you have any great books to recommend, let me know too!
So, watch this space!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Since my last post on MEGB more than a month back, a lot has happened.
A Concerned Investor sends in some queries to MEGB's Investor Relations (IR) Another concerned MEGB shareholder, Zuuk has been sharing some info with me via email and these were his concerns:
1) An updated list of the shareholders - this was updated on 9.03.2011 - which shows that Fidelity and Smallcap World Fund were still shareholders to a total of 8.5%. But of course, this was 3 weeks ago and the composition may have changed and we can only wait and find out whether they have further shed their ownership of Masterskill's shares.
2) Zuuk also had concerns as MEGB's bursa announcement that it had obtained approval from the Education Ministry to run its Kuching campus which conflicted with the Kenanga report on MEGB saying that the Diploma in Nursing for Kuching was facing some delay in obtaining approval. Management's reply to this was that the two things are not the same thing as the former as to do with the campus and the latter with the programme. Hence, they were not conflicting. Nevertheless, good on Zuuk for spotting these things and being an active investor and of course, sharing this info with us
Catalysts for Higher Prices? MEGB now has hit around the average price I bought it - RM1.9 and the fact it has been in the news may have something to do with it:
March 23 - Approval for its Cheras Campus to conduct BSC (hons) Nursing programme - This is obviously good news as well, if all goes well, a recognised certificate is almost as good as printing money.
March 29 - Masterskill then announced it was to collobarate with Kinta Medical Centre to set up a physiotherapy centre - This again is a plus as it states that KMC will bear the costs and share the profits with Masterskill and this may give Masterskill the 'unique selling point' it needs to get more students into Masterskill as the healthcare education industry gets more crowded with more players entering into this space.
What about Dividends? Share Buy Back? Of course the two pieces of news I cannot wait for is the share buyback and the payout of dividends.
And guess what - they recommend a dividends payout of 7.9 cents per share payable on 15 June so if my maths is right - a 4.1% return for the shares at the price of RM1.89 (closing price today). Read about it on the Edge.
Yet, when I think about it, can MEGB afford to also do a share buyback? Can they fund both while expanding aggresively as they are opening its new campuses or do they have to settle for one option? To me, I would prefer a dividends payout as I am holding long on to MEGB. Perhaps, it's time to write into their IR to find out...
Update 31/03 : OSK research maintains MEGB as a trading buy with unchanged fair value of RM 3.44 citing the current PER at 6.4 the cheapest in its covergae. Read it on the Edge.
Full disclosure: Yes, I do have shares in MEGB.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Love cutting coupons? There's a better way! Check out these websites... I've listed a few in my previous posts - Groupsmore, Milkadeal, Mydeal to name a few.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
YTL's latest Offering - YES BROADBAND
The podcast is available here to listen/download.
Other podcasts of BFM are here. There's some really good stuff to check it out.
First thing, is he used very 'hip' language - repeated the word 'awesome' and 'cool' quite a few times which leads me to think this was a trained interview and perhaps, he is trying to hard to appeal to the younger crowd? He did not answer directly to the Interviewer's questions but rather was marketing YES broadband. He was asked what were his internal targets for subscribers (currently 100k) but he didn't give a straight answer.
Then again, I do not know Tan Sri personally so maybe that is how he talks naturally...
Another thing to clarify is that 4G is not strictly 4G but more like.. 3.5G. From my understanding, 4G would use different technology rather than the current tech used by YTL. Read here WIMAX is not really 4G.
Ok, those out of the way... It was quite insightful to pick the brains of one of the most admirable captains of industry in Malaysia. In fact, family owned firms do better in the hard times - as reported in Newsweek.
YTL's YES broadband is a very, very powerful idea and I am in fact sold on the idea. In fact, I have put money where my mouth in and I do have some YTL Power shares which own part of the YTL Communications that is running the show.
Why am I sold? Well, for my HTC wildfire on 18 month contract - I have to spend roughly RM 100 a month - RM50 for my calls and RM 50 for internet (500mb). Now, imagine if I could not have a phone and just use the internet for all my calls and messages. Impossible you say? No, but that's what I am ALREADY doing. I am saving soo much of my line costs but using Gmail, Gtalk, Whatsapp and if I had Skype, I don't have to use my line at all ! Imagine, how much I will save. If I was Maxis, Digi, Celcom, hey, I'll be shaking in my boots.
If YES can give me the speeds it promises, why do you have to make calls and text on a 'traditional' mobile phone line? There was one day where I asked my friend: If I have internet, why do I need my phone? For texts, I can message my friends with Whatsapp and Gchat. For phone calls, I can call using Skype!
I think alot of people don't get it about YES broadband. It's not for the high end users and I don't think it is fair to compare it to say TM's UniFy. Why the coverage along the NS highway and the ERL? Why the coverage in main areas in West Malaysia? It's supposed to work more like a phone line than strictly internet usage to surf, download and play.
MMS and SMS are so, like, yesterday!
Tan Sri was spot on when he mentioned the power of apps. For RM 30 a month, I can use 3.5 Gigg as opposed to the RM 50 of my RM 100 for my HTC for 500 mb only! (which mind you, is already the cheapest monthly payment with Maxis) With all that RM 30, I don't need a line. I can keep in touch with friend with Skype and Whatsapp... theorectically speaking of course.
The savings are huge - RM70 a month - RM 840 by year's end! Almost enough to pay for this budget smartphone of mine!
I think there can be revolution here if YTL plays their cards right. At the moment, I believe YES still has many nagging problems right from its launch (site crashed!) and it needs to increase its distribution reach by setting up more booths. IMHO, it lacks the presence and awareness of its plans and the power of the internet its offers.
There is alot more discussed by Tan Sri but I shall keep focused on my opinion of YES. I believe if it does well, it will prove a challenge to exisiting telco companies and even Astro. With the bandwith, they can transmit shows/films to your computer/home. As Tan Sri says, "You don't know it but we have built pipes to each one of us"(liberally paraphrasing)
It will take time but this is a very brave bold move in the right direction. YES may one day be the platform for YTL to provide services provided by Netflix in the West and I think the hybrid TV is a move in that direction.
Malaysia watch out, YES may help re-define the way Malaysia works, play and learn this decade!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Warren Buffet thinks so
Motley Fool has Three ways to Profit from the Japan crisis - Toyota, Uranium producers and Nuclear Energy Producers (good dividends)
- He believes YES broadband will revolutionise mobile telephony. Why use texts and normal phone lines when you have 4G and can use multimedia apps like whatsapp, gmail,Skype. He sells his YES experience like using colour tv and not being able to go back to black n white.
- On kl property prices, he believes a high speed train linking S'pore n kl is what we need to raise our deflated kl prices n the gov seems to be assessing the situation.
There's a edited repeat later at 1230 n a podcast on BFM later. My take on some of the stuff he said later.
Disclosure: yes I own shares in ytlpower.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Thanks to a poster on Lowyat.net, here are two more Malaysian sites to get great deals:
Take advantage of these sites while you can. I somehow don't see these 5 of them lasting that long especially now that GROUPON (of US fame) has taken more groupsmore and maybe some of these sites were hoping they were the ones to be acquired by them!
Enjoy the great deals!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
This is why! (image credit: dreamstime)
Most property investors will tell you that buying a property is about two things - the rental and the capital appreciation. While you correct monthly rent, the property will hopefully (if it's a great location and demand is there), the property price will go up over the years beating inflation and making a good profit when you sell it. Ta-daa capital appreciation!
So what about stocks? Everyone seems looking for the next penny stock that rockets 100-200% but does anyone actually think about stocks paying dividends.
The Numbers to Back Up
- The Extraordinary Power of Dividends - Morgan Hensel for the Motley Fool has a brilliant article on this -Read it here.
- 6 Myths on investing Dividends - Including one myth that stocks are only for older people who need income - I say its an integral addition to any portfolio! Read it here.
- Where Dividends Fit on the Financial Puzzle on FT (registration may be required)
People ask me how it feels to take the side of moral bankruptcy. Answer: Pretty good! Thanks for asking. How's it feel to be a disgruntled victim?
I have a theory that you should invest in the companies that you hate the most. The usual reason for hating a company is that the company is so powerful it can make you balance your wallet on your nose while you beg for their product. Oil companies such as BP don't actually make you beg for oil, but I think we all realize that they could. It's implied in the price of gas."
Monday, March 7, 2011
Wow, that's a cool magic trick! (image credit: Dreamstime)
Anyway, let me make it up to you by introducing to you not one... not two... but THREE sites that will help you save alot of money!
These 3 sites have been set up in Malaysia to try and capture the online voucher/coupon market made so famous by groupon.com. Google was rumoured to be interested in taking them over in the US!
Anyway, all you need to do, is give them an email and register and you will be sent emails on deals. If you're interested, you actually need to buy the coupon (pay online) and then you will be issued the coupon (provided the number of people who buy the coupon is met) and voila! Cheap (50% off or more!) manicure/brazilian waxing (ouch!)/food/spa treatment/shoes/subscription, etc...!
So, check these sites out!
My advice? The sites are competing each other and offering like free RM 2/RM 5 e-money to get you to sign up and try -so take advantage of it! For example, join milkadeal on FB and you get RM 5.
Any requirements for these sites? A credit card/paypal account oh, and facebook!
So what are you waiting for, sign up and wait & get the deal you want!
Monday, February 28, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
There are 4 research reports on MEGB's corporate website which can be found here. Also further news reported on the Edge but reproduced here in the Msian Chronicle.
Generally, all positive:
Kenanaga - TP: RM3.73
Alliance Research - TP: RM2.60 (trading buy)
CIMB - TP: RM 4.48
DBS - TP: RM 4.50 (12 months)
Also, it can be seen that there are catalysts for it to go up:
1) Final Dividend to be paid out end of next week.
2) Buyback activites to be sometime in June 2011.
3) General growth in its number of campuses and student population.
Interestingly, the CIMB report states that the transfer of the CEO's shares to his wife was due to - asset planning. This is vague and could be down to tax reasons or could it be he really is going to personally buy more shares of MEGB?
To be honest, it's quite a relief to read all these positive reports and there's something here for me to come back to read to understand why I took the plunge into MEGB in the first place. I was pretty worried. Its much harder to buy on a stock which has been battered and there's still a general fear among people about it!
Well... at it's current prices it's trading at 6.7 time PE for 2011 (forecasted) so I think that's way too cheap.. so I'm Long MEGB!
Full Disclosure: Yes, I do own shares in MEGB.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Full statement found here on Bursa.
So what do I think, ie: what's good and bad? And well, I'm not very sure of?
1. High Cash Reserves which can be a good sign if used well- Potential for dividends or a Buyback? Cash reserves has increased by RM 91 million along with cashflow. MEGB should be able to withstand a selloff by its foreign investors if it wants to but there is no mention of this concern at all. There is only mention that it may employ its positive cashflow for further expansion plans.
2. Growth is there - Student numbers grew from 17.6k to 18.4k. PTPTN concerns will not affect existing students. Expenditure has gone into new campuses - Five new campuses being constructed around Malaysia with the Bandar Baru Bangi Campus being able to enjoy its full fledged university status and award degrees in medical, nursing and allied-healtcare courses.
3. Dividends - Nothing has been said about dividends not going to be paid out and CIMB's research report seems to be positive on dividends of REIT-like levels - 8%+ at the current price levels. That's like FD interest rates on steroids!
1. Debt has increased Y-on-Y. Borrowings increased two times from roughly 14 million to 35 million. Interesting, deferred tax liabilities as doubles as well and I am not sure what to make of that.
2. MEGB seems to accept there may be a drop in PTPTN funding for its future students. This is a major concern with 90-95% of its students are funded by them. It will have to look at other ways to fund its students and this explains the aggressive expense in advertisments and marketing. With its high margins, it still has some pricing power and it can pursue overseas students within Asia.3. Maybe I'm reading too much into the statement but the Outlook doesn't sound that great - "the Directors remain confident of achieving satisfactory performance for the financial year 2011". (page 14 of the statement, emphasis is mine) That's not enough! How about an excellent performance?
1. The CEO transferred shares to his wife recently -12 % of his 22% ownership of MEGB shares. (Personal opinion/speculation) This has caused some concern but my first thought was maybe for tax reasons. One to keep an eye on. Filing can be found here.
2. Foreign funds still have shares to dispose off if they are looking to totally wipe out their holdings of MEGB. This sell-off may cause a further drop in its price.
3. Litigation - There's a few cases against MEGB and this will need an eye on them as well. Currently being a lawyer, I should look further into this!
Going forward, I've increased my stake in MEGB but I will be cautious and have a keen eye on the actual student intake going forward with PTPTN loans possibly being tightened up and perhaps, some 'on the ground' research maybe is in order.
At its current price of 1.80+, I think there's still good upside to it but I may not agree with Target Prices of RM3.00+ so quickly. This is a defensive stock which is oversold. Remember, that at the time of its listing, there was alot of momentum going into Education stocks so its valuations was off at that time.
'Till then I'm slightly bullish on MEGB's propects and it's still an opportunity to dip into IMHO. What do you think?
Disclosure : I recently acquired more shares in MEGB, taking a bigger position on it. As for the contents of my post, please check my disclaimers section above. Please do your own research and come to your own conclusions and/or seek professional advice before making any investment decision.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Recently, I asked an ex-housemate of mine who is a Biotech Grad for his opinion on an stock idea involving Biotech - Specialised Proteins. There is a US company that produces the specialised proteins and blood components to everything from hospitals to research facilities around the world. The company fundamentals are sounds and margins are fantastic. The name of the company? Techne.