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Far Horizon  

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  • What Is Risk For A Dividend Growth Investor? [View article]
    Your comment ; "we will likely see a fall out in dividend paying stocks once interest rates on low risk income vehicles become more attractive." seems to tie David's point together - if a DG investor has the discipline to remember the goal of his investment strategy, such a fall out will be most welcome - presenting an opportunity to buy into income streams at lower cost, which should nicely offset the impact of inflation by increasing the yield. As long as the stock is sound, and the strategy is followed, all should be roses.

    David - nicely constructed - thanks.
    Sep 20, 2014. 04:14 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Big Trouble In Little Hong Kong? [View article]
    Thanks Cam. A couple of thoughts here...HK is an anachronism, it was created as an entrepôt to allow the west to access a closed China. As China becomes more globally integrated, HK is just another Chinese City, with a shrinking competitive advantage in terms of knowledge and infrastructure ( financial and physical) and a huge cost disadvantage. Decline over the long term is inevitable.
    A big risk factor for China is the widening gap, between rich and poor, and the resultant social tensions. The 2 systems approach to HK creates further tensions in the southern part of China, and over time has to be unwound.
    Historical ill feeling towards Japan is a useful lever for Chinese leadership to pull to distract the Chinese from economic and social problems at home. Look at how the Nth Korean leadership uses Sth Korea as a scapegoat for domestic problems. Recent anti Japanese riots in China have a similar flavour.I think that we can anticipate further moves from China to keep pressure up on disputed areas, not just with Japan, but also Vietnam and Philippines. This adds to the list of potential geopolitical problems, which include Russia and the Middle East. Market volatility seems an inevitable outcome to plan for.
    Sep 12, 2014. 07:15 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • General Electric: Hold On Tight, A Perfect Storm Of Profits Lies Ahead [View article]
    Thanks. Would be interested to see who you include in the GE peer group?
    Some European companies like Siemens AG offer a very compelling alternative.
    Nov 26, 2014. 04:28 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Buffett Is Changing The Future Of Berkshire's Float - From Insurance To Uncle Sam [View article]
    Very interesting insight. Deferred tax and insurance liabilities share one common feature, they appear on the liability side of the balance sheet, because they are "other peoples money" which must be paid at a future date. To this end, what is invested in using this leverage becomes of secure is the anticipated return on invested float?
    I assume that the BRK investment profile retains a conservative enough profile to secure the liabilities of future tax payments, and that these are carefully duration matched, but this seems a risk to watch as with any leveraged business model.
    On balance, I see advantages in deferred tax float over insurance float, as the latter carries risk in both the final amount of exposure, and the timing of the "repayment". This means that there is a need to back the insurance liabilities with a capital buffer, reducing the leverage efficiency. Thanks for the article which provides excellent food for thought!
    Aug 15, 2014. 09:21 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Big Trouble In Little Hong Kong? [View article]
    Great debate here, but perhaps we stray from the key issue. China's leadership, just like POTUS, has ultimately to be pragmatic. They will act in what they see as the interests of their constituency, as the main aim of any politician is to retain power, and ultimately this can only be achieved by furthering the interests of the people that they govern.
    How they exercise that mandate will vary, but the drivers of their actions are the same.
    I like the concept that HK will ignite a wave of revolt through China, but you have to be realistic about scale here. HK is tiny in terms of population, and in China more than anywhere, it's a numbers game!
    Sep 13, 2014. 09:39 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The World's Largest Chemical Company Offers A Great Yield [View article]
    Thanks Jonathan, BASF looks well worth a deeper look. In general, I strongly believe that European based global stocks offer far better value than US listings. Companies like this are accessible on several exchanges, so no problems of access directly, without the complexity of ADRs. Germany, Switzerland and UK in particular are home to many world class companies offering great value. Do you have other proposals of peers to US companies to consider for better valuations?
    Sep 6, 2014. 01:55 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is This The Best Emerging Market For 2014? [View article]
    According to OECD stats, Turkey's industrial production grew by 15% between 2010 and q3 2013.
    The growth drivers showed a shift from textiles, to electronics, automotive and other higher tech industries.
    Over the same period the G7 economies industrial growth rate was 4.5%.
    Jan 1, 2014. 07:57 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is This The Best Emerging Market For 2014? [View article]
    Thanks TAS. I agree that Erdogan is vulnerable right now. The military remains a key player in Turkey, and a coup is a possibility. This is why I am on the sidelines for now.
    However, while I am sure that a change of government would disrupt the markets, I do see the strong positive drivers in Turkey as inevitable in their outcome of economic growth. A change of government could represent a buying opportunity. The worst outcome for the market would be a fragmented coalition, and this would be a signal for me to scale down.
    Jan 1, 2014. 04:10 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is This The Best Emerging Market For 2014? [View article]
    Thanks for the comment Dodurgali.
    I do mention above the current account deficit, which leaves Turkey vulnerable to external financial influence, a key target of the World Bank programme.
    I am less sanguine about the state of modern Turkish democracy than you seem to be.
    I will have to look more into the environmental topic. Sadly however, history shows that the price for poor environmental management is deferred until years after the profits of economic growth flow through to the markets. My analysis is around the market outlook over 1, 5, and 10 years.
    Jan 1, 2014. 04:05 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The end of China's economic miracle? [View news story]
    I couldnt agree more with your comment 4bear. I am lucky enough to employ the product of universities like yours, and I get a direct comparison between the Chinese employees and those from India, Singapore, Japan, US, Uk, Switzerland, and Australia. I rank the Chinese grads very high indeed compared to their counterparts....very smart and exceptionally hardworking. The sheer hunger of the guys from India and China, and the huge cost advantage vs the older world economies. Their inability to innovate is a jaded cliche.....these guys are smart, cheap, flexible,hungry, ambitious and focussed. The ascendency of these nations is not a question of "If"' but more of when and how. Economic growth will be much faster than we saw in the US and other developed economies, and with speed comes volatility, but the end game is inevitable. Investment in this mega trend will be tricky, you need to choose between the current low pe high risk local firms, and higher priced but potentially safer global firms with strong EM exposure. Risk return profiles are different. I prefer a balance....the local index via ETFs to pick the trend and low valuations, but avoid the risks of selecting individual stocks, and established high quality brands with good EM exposure. US based global firms tend to be much pricier than their European competitors, so the latter are well worth a look.
    Nov 22, 2014. 08:38 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Long-Term Outlook - Bleak! [View article]
    I think we are getting to the point. The US consumer is not the market that will generate economic growth and corporate profits, it's the new consumers in emerging markets where the demographic trend is favourable. US companies that are well positioned here will clearly benefit, and EM focus should be a key part of any stocks DD. Further than that, understanding the emerging markets themselves, and investing directly in those that offer the best risk and return balance seems the most logical way forward. I have written several articles around specific EM's which I hope will help scratch the surface of these opportunities.
    Sep 21, 2014. 06:21 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Blue Capital Reinsurance Holdings Considerable Capital Appreciation And Yield Opportunity In New, Underfollowed Reinsurer [View article]
    I agree that the risk profile is arguably much higher than portrayed here.
    Collateralised reinsurers are able to access business without strong financial security ratings because they have to put up cash equal to the risk that they accept. This means that they are unable to write a diversified portfolio of business. The assumed loss ratio in the low 20% range and the high rate on line are key assumptions which need careful scrutiny. 20% rate on line means that the price of protection purchased by their clients is 1/5 th of the potential reinsurance claim. A 20% loss ratio means that only 1/5th of the premiums received are paid out in claims.
    Compare that to the price of a 12 month out of the money SPY put !
    Reinsurance contracts that pay that high a price tend to be concentrated in a few key risk areas - Florida hurricane being a good example. Not only are these zones under intense price competition ( recall comments made recently by Warren Buffett that BH were moving out of this space) but losses tend to clump together due to climate issues. The most appropriate risk measure is not the mean or the median loss, it is the 'worst case' scenario, and the probability of that.
    Potential investors in BCRH would be advised to undertake careful scrutiny of their underwriting strategy, portfolio mix, and forward projections of pricing movements. The collateralised reinsurance model is a high risk investment, and the potential for full loss of capital should be one scenario investors should consider.
    Jul 6, 2014. 11:53 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesco's Price Drop Offers Excellent Value [View article]
    Thanks for the article which opens up an interesting topic in the current UK supermarket industry -
    There seem to be a couple of investment theses here;
    1. Buy Tesco on value and dividend yield. Here I would consider Sainsbury as a better case. 5.2% yield (ex div in November whereas Tesco has just gone ex div) and a lower pe with a more upmarket brand to fend off the discounters.

    2. Buy Tesco on Overseas growth. My pick here would be Charoen Popkhand, an Asian focused group with strong political capital and good horizontal integration. Tesco is still a UK play, and troubles at home are likely to limit the focus on the overseas markets.

    3. Follow Buffet....with some debate over exactly what he is doing with. Tesco. Surely the best way to follow Buffet is to buy Berkshire Hathaway?
    May 2, 2014. 10:06 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Singapore Story: No Longer A Sure Thing For Investors? [View article]
    Not short of controversy around this article are we? I always find it interesting to consider polarised arguments, as the truth is often in between. I lived and worked in Singapore for most of the 90's have more of my friends there than anywhere else, and am a frequent visitor.
    The issue for both Singapore and Hongkong as I see it is one of competitive advantage over neighbours as an entrepot economy. As China and S East Asian countries develop more open economies, reduce protectionism, and increase the supply of educated employees - one degree better becomes increasingly hard to maintain. This leads to tougher cost benefit equations for employers, employees, residents and other 'investors'.
    Singapore specifically I see as having progressed fast up the cost curve, while managing to maintain an edge over neighbouring countries. Every time I visit KL, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Ho Chi Minh, I see the edge in evidence, but also how much these places have progressed, and how tenuous is Singapore's grip on the leaderboard. I certainly don't write it off, but the city state has its work cut out to keep ahead - as an entrepot is is essentially dependent on its neighbours - IMHO I think that there will always be a role for Singapore to play, but the real upside for future growth lies elsewhere.
    LKY used to picture Singapore as the "Switzerland of Asia" maybe look to Switzerland to anticipate how things might look in Singapore in the future.
    Apr 9, 2013. 10:42 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Earnings Recession Of 2015: Stock Market In Danger? [View article]
    It's always worth reading press from the other side of the pond. Headline from today's FT...." US corporate profits heading for second consecutive quarterly decline". I usually find good analysis at
    Mar 6, 2015. 11:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment