Sunday, December 31, 2023

Portfolio Summary for December 2023

As of 31 December 2023


Security # shares Price S$ %
DBS 400 33.41 4.17
UOB 400 28.45 3.55
OCBC Bank 700 13.00 2.84
SGX 2,700 9.83 8.29
ST Engineering 6,900 3.89 8.38
Powermatic Data 8,500 2.97 7.88
Micro-Mechanics 14,200 1.93 8.56
TheHourGlass 15,000 1.66 7.78
Sheng Siong 19,100 1.60 9.60
VICOM Ltd 21,500 1.43 9.60
Credit Bureau Asia 14,300 0.92 4.11
Nanofilm 21,600 0.915 6.17
HRnetGroup 21,900 0.715 4.89
TalkMed Group 14,500 0.38 1.72
China Sunsine 41,800 0.395 5.16
Kimly 27,000 0.32 2.70
HC Surgical 35,500 0.30 3.33
Silverlake Axis 15,000 0.28 1.31
Portfolio Market Value = $320,172
YTD Dividends Received = $13,139
YTD SBL Fees Received = $907

- Sold 10,100 shares of CapitaLand Investment.
- Sold 8,200 shares of SATS.
- Sold 11,700 shares of Genting Singapore.


Security # shares Price S$ %
DBS 100 33.41 2.62
UOB 200 28.45 4.47
OCBC Bank 900 13.00 9.19
SGX 1,300 9.83 10.04
ST Engineering 3,000 3.89 9.17
Powermatic Data 3,400 2.97 7.93
Micro-Mechanics 5,400 1.93 8.19
TheHourGlass 5,000 1.66 6.52
Sheng Siong 8,700 1.60 10.94
VICOM Ltd 5,500 1.43 6.18
Credit Bureau Asia 5,700 0.92 4.12
Nanofilm 5,500 0.915 3.95
HRnetGroup 7,500 0.715 4.21
TalkMed Group 5,800 0.38 1.73
China Sunsine 10,800 0.395 3.35
Kimly 5,800 0.32 1.46
HC Surgical 19,500 0.30 4.60
Silverlake Axis 6,000 0.28 1.32
Portfolio Market Value = $127,280

- Sold 2,600 shares of CapitaLand Investment.
- Sold 3,800 shares of SATS.

Singapore Savings Bonds

Security Amount ($) Avg Yld %
GX22120S 14,000 3.47
GX23010Z 15,000 3.26
GX23110V 20,000 3.32
GX23120Z 20,000 3.40
Portfolio Market Value = $69,000

Time flew by in the blink of an eye.  We have reached the end of 2023.  Markets started the year a little apprehensive, unsure how much higher the U.S. Fed will push interest rates.  Sentiment subsequently turned bullish as dovish comments from the Fed in December indicated that they are done with rate hikes [news].  There is also the prospect of rate cuts next year, which is welcomed by investors.  CME FedWatch Tool shows the market is pricing in a very high (87%) probability that the Fed will cut interest rate as early as March 2024.

Global equity markets were neatly split into two camps - big winners and big losers.  The S&P 500 Index went on a tear, locking in an eye-popping 24.2 percent gain, of which a large part is attributed to the Magnificent 7 stocks.  On the other hand, our local Straits Times Index headed south, but managed to break even on the last trading day of the year.  Other regional markets were a mixed bag.  The Hang Seng Index plummeted 13.8 percent and the CSI 300 Index lost 11.4 percent.  Conversely, the KOSPI Index and Nikkei 225 Index gained 18.7 percent and 28.5 percent respectively.

Performance of the S-Reits was weak in 2023, given the current interest rate environment.  The iEdge S-REIT Index managed to break even, having recovered from hitting the bottom in end October.  Taking dividends into account, the total return was a respectable 6.6 percent.  Most S-Reits have held up well so far, with distributions being steady.  I was tempted to add one or two S-Reits when they were trading at very attractive discounts.  Having S-Reit exposure will boost the yield in my portfolios.  In the end, I refrained from doing so, since S-Reits' traditionally high leverage runs counter to my preference for low gearing companies.

Looking into 2024, eyes will be on whether the Fed can steer the U.S. economy to a soft landing.  Geopolitics will also be front and centre stage on people's mind, with the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars still ongoing, Houthi rebels attacks in the Red Sea driving up shipping costs, as well as major elections in the U.S. and Taiwan.  Donald Trump making a comeback and the independence-focused DPP candidate Lai Ching-te winning the presidential race in Taiwan will likely stir up more hostility with China.  A recent Bloomberg article [here] also warns how the bull run of S&P 500 Index over the last decade is unlikely to repeat, with valuations currently being stretched.

On the domestic front, the GST will go up another 1 percent tomorrow (sigh).  The Basic Healthcare Sum will also increase from $68,500 to $71,500 [announcement].  I will top up as soon as the window opens, in order to take advantage of the tax relief.

I finally had time to review my portfolios' performance.  Made a decision to ditch the lower ROE stocks in favour of the stronger companies.  The number of holdings in my portfolios has been reduced to 18.  I sold my positions in CapitaLand Investment, Genting Singapore and SATS.

CapitaLand Investment posted a warning [here] that its full year PATMI will be severely impacted due to depressed property valuations caused by high capitalization rates. The property manager was quick to highlight that operating cashflows remained sound.

Genting Singapore share price gained a tailwind after Singapore and China announced an agreement for 30-day visa-free travel between the two countries [news].  An influx of Chinese tourists bodes well for its casino and theme park.

Of these three companies, SATS is the most disappointing.  The company's performance hasn't recovered fully post-pandemic.  It filed three consecutive years of losses.  SATS had to put out a clarification [here] to assure investors that it is in not in danger of being placed on SGX Watch List.  Nonetheless, the stock price languished and no dividend had been paid out during this period.  With the WFS acquisition, there is a huge debt overhang on the company.  The debt-to-equity ratio has ballooned ten times, which makes me feel uneasy.  I have lost hope of a quick turnaround.  Time to cut loss and move on.

I will deploy the freed up capital to other stocks in my portfolios.  Meanwhile, I am monitoring two other companies that caught my eye recently.  I will take a bite when the price is right.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we cannot rely on dividends alone for income.  While there were some companies that kept paying dividends throughout the period, it is better to have different streams of income.  This is something which I will have to plan for.

January's SSB has an average yield of 3.07 percent, which is less than my requirement, hence I did not subscribe for it.  February's SSB issuance should have an average yield around 2.82 percent, which is lower than January's yield.  I will switch my focus back to the equity market.

Speaking of pandemic, I was inflicted with my first COVID-19 infection this month.  Came down with sore throat, high fever, cough and runny nose.  Thankfully, I had taken my COVID booster vaccine before I left for holiday in Australia, so the symptoms were not as drastic as I imagined.  There wasn't anything crucial or urgent at work, so I could afford to take a good rest.

As 2023 wound down, I reflected on my life.  I feel contented and at peace.  I have a loving wife and two active boys.  I enjoy good health (COVID aside).  I have a roof over my head and can afford a comfortable - though not lavish - lifestyle.  At work, I have helpful team mates and an understanding boss who values my contribution.

I don't feel any urge to keep up with the Joneses.  I am happy to stay in a HDB flat and not in a private residence.  There are many amenities around my neighbourhood, which make it convenient for our daily life.  I don't intend to invest in a second property either.  Watching my in-laws' woes as a landlord has made me wary.  While my peers own a car, I don't see the need to maintain one since I take the train to office in the CBD, my kids take the public bus to school and my wife simply walks to her workplace.  We can just call for a cab when needed.

DBS NAV Planner tells me I have crossed the million-dollar net worth mark, so I am secretly happy. :)

For those readers who have read my previous post [here] and know my history, I have come a long way since experiencing the most humbling moment of my life.  It is amazing how desperation can drive one's determination to climb out of the financial sinkhole.  I am grateful for the people who have helped me along the way and allowed me to accomplish what I have today.

If I can do it, I'm sure you can achieve your financial goals too!

I hope to be able to retire at the age of 55 (eleven more years).  I will then depend on my portfolios for income to sustain through my remaining years.  The best part is that I don't have to count on my kids for support.  I will be the last sandwiched generation within my family.

I am currently lagging behind my plan as I saved up more money and invested less this year.  My wife and I want to repay our HDB mortgage loan when the lock-up period expires in August.  Once the loan is paid off, the next biggest expense will be the university tuition fees for our kids.  My wife and I already have two fully paid endowment policies in place to cover a major portion of the cost, so we aren't worried.  A better life awaits when we become debt free.

Happy New Year 2024, my friends!

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