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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

RAMUNIA-LA, Asset Allocation, Diversification

From a reader "Lex",

"Hi Seng, I came across Investssmart chatroom and your blog accidentally early this year, ...

I am new in stock market invest and started to trade around end of year 2005. I know nuts about FA and TA. But can understand certain accounting term like NAV or NTA. I invest by buying low and hold (with certain percentage of stop loss) then sell once the price move up around 15% ...

Currently, I holding ... Ramunia LA @ RM1.159 and Ramunia WA @ RM0.855 which I slowly accumulated starting early this month. Of course the reason I start to invest in Ramunia is after go through your blog on Ramunia. I also agree and believe that the future of global oil and gas sector is very promising and got great potential that crude oil price will hit US$100 per barrel.

I still have around xxx capital set aside for share investment, and I plan to use all of it to invest in either Ramunia LA or WA for short term and long term.

Are you able to advise is it wise to do so? As I don't have time to monitor a few counters and so far each time I invest, I bought 1 or the most 2 counters only. Thanks."


Dear Lex,

Thanks for your email. I hope you won't mind me replying here, as it may be useful to the other readers with similar questions as you are. I have taken the liberty to remove any data that might identify you, as well as the more sensitive numbers relating to your actual stock and cash holdings. My thoughts follows. Please treat these as merely second opinion. At the end of the day, I am not a licensed investment advisor, I do not charge any fees, and it is your hard-earned money which is at risk.

Ramunia-LA vs Ramunia-WA

1. At the time of writing, Ramunia closed (prior day) at $1.42, Ramunia-LA $1.10, Ramunia-WA $0.865. At these prices, I still prefer the LA best, and would avoid both the WA and the mother share.

2. The reasons I would avoid the mother share is because come Sep 2007 and 20 Dec 2007, I expect the mother share price to fall as a result of the planned share dilution.

3. The reasons I would avoid the WA is because I expect the WA price to track mother reasonably closely. If the mother price falls, the WA should fall also. Worse, since the WA provides gearing, I expect the WA to fall proportionately larger than the mother. If I'm not buying the mother, I am certainly not buying the WA.

4. It may be counter-intuitive as to why when 20 Dec 2007 comes, both mother and WA falls but LA rises. The reason is simply because the rules of the game says that 1 LA stock gets to convert into 1 mother share, and for all intent and purpose, 1 LA stock is equivalent to 1 mother share comes 20 Dec 2007. As the LA price is significantly below current mother price, I expect the LA price to go up come 20 Dec 2007.

5. I would consider disposing some/all of the WA during strength before the planned September dilution.

6. There may be a smaller outside chance that the mother share might rise after the 20 Dec 07 dilution process completes causing the WA to rise proportionately faster than mother. That I cannot fully discount either as I do not have a reliable crystal ball into the future. Notwitstanding this, I would still prefer the LA, since in my opinion, the potential reward does not appear to fully offset the potential risk.

Asset Allocation

You mentioned you are planning to use all (100%) of your capital to just hold 1 (or 2) stocks. There are 2 separate issues here: 1. Asset Allocation (100%% invested in stocks), and 2. Diversification (1 or 2 stocks).

For the first part, I'm afraid I don't know you well enough to know whether you are still working, whether you expect to be a net saver over the next 6 or 12 months say, your savings rate or access to other sources of savings, your liabilities / planned expenditure, etc.

But assuming you don't plan to increase your capital, then, 100% of capital into stocks is not prudent. Whilst the market is bullish right now, noone really knows when the party will end. Especially if you do not have a history to time the market successfully.

In the Intelligent Investor book, Graham advocates a 50/50 asset allocation. In other words, if you have $100,000 to invest, consider investing $50,000 into stocks and the other half into bonds (or for practical purposes, fixed deposits and cash). Especially since you don't have time to monitor the market.

Under this approach, the defensive (or busy) investor may choose to review his portfolio say on weekends or every fortnight, and updates the % invested in shares.

If after a period of time, the % invested in shares has risen to say $60,000 at the next review date then, the total portfolio is now $110,000 (= $50,000 cash + $60,000 stock). The stock % is now 60/110 = 54.5% which exceeded 50%. The investor could consider rebalancing to 50/50 by selling approximately 4.5% x 110,000 = 4,950 or say $5k the following week. This would then result in stocks of $55k and cash of $55k, or roughly 50/50.

Conversely, if the % invested in shares fell to say $40,000 at the next review date, then, the total portfolio is $90,000 (= $50,000 cash + $40,000 stock). The cash % is now 50/90 = 55.6%. The investor could consider rebalancing to 50/50 by buying approximately 5.6% x 90,000 = $5k the following week. This would then result in stocks of $45k and cash of $45k, or roughly 50/50.

Of course, this is not the most optimal strategy to maximize returns. But Graham is of the view that it forces the investor to buy when prices are depressed, and to sell some when prices goes up, thereby, doing the right thing not to get a poor investment result.

The 50/50 approach may be tailored depending on your risk apetite and individual circumstances and preferences. E.g. if you expect to have say $10,000 worth of future savings coming in over the next 6 months that you plan to commit into stocks, then, you might start to consider this as part of your cash holdings in the above calculations. In other words, effectively, you have tilted towards $55k stock /$45k cash (since actual cash is only $45k and exclude the $10k cash which has not yet come in), or 55% stock, 45% cash allocation.

You may also choose not to act when the stock % is only a small variation from your 50% target, since the amount to rebalance may become too small.

You may also vary the % invested in stocks (from 50%) to another figure such as 55% or 60% especially when market prices has fallen and you are really bullish about the stock market in the future. However, this is potentially riskier since it is inherently difficult to predict future market movement, and more of your wealth is at risk should your assessment turned out to be wrong.


You mentioned you would like to hold just 1 (or 2) stocks.

My general advise is to not to this, even if Warren Buffett himself have personally recommended a stock to me (which he won't).

Why? Because there are no guarantees in the stock market. Despite the best research today, noone can reliably predict the future, and that includes what is going to happen to the company and the stock price during the investment period. Owning a single company is not prudent. One of Buffett's famous quote (and I am paraphrasing him, in a similar context of employing leverage) is that even if there is a 99% chance of enhanced profits, and just a small 1% chance of having a terrible result, he would not take that risk. I think the same principle applies here, when it comes to being 100% invested (instead of 50/50 suggested above).

Perhaps an exception could be considered if the stock is a closed-end fund such as I-Capital, or a carefully selected mutual fund outside the stock market, since the funds in theory holds a diversified group of stocks. For the former, I would consider spreading my buys across lower prices if I am considering entry. For the latter, you need to consult a professional investment adviser.

If you still want to select stocks yourself, consider diversifying into 5-10 stocks at the very least. Apparently, Graham recommends 10 to 30, even though he himself holds nearly 100+ stocks. If you have $100k of capital, and plan to invest $50,000 into stocks, 5 stocks means roughly $10,000 investment each. The actual amount invested can be varied slightly around these rough yardsticks, to make it round lots, or to reflect your varying degree of confidence in the stock.

Other Comments

As this is already a lengthy reply, I think I will leave it at that, even though I have some relatively minor difference in opinion on stop loss when applied to sound, fundamental stocks, or on your sell targets.

Disclaimer: As usual, please treat this as merely second opinions. Always use your own judgement, consult a professional if you are still unclear, and invest (buy, hold, sell) at your own risks since at the end of the day, it is your own money.


Lex said...

hi Seng,
Thanks a lot for your valuable opinions especially the asset allocation and diversification topic. I don't mind you reply my queries over your blog as you mentioned, it might helps and enlighten others who are new to all these.

By the way, I am 32, currently running my own business and at the same time looking for other source of passive incomes to increase my saving. Bank FD rate are unable to meet my target of return to fund my childs education and my own retirement in next 20 years.

Do you know where can I get the latest updated info (online over the internet)on who are the share holders of Malaysia listed company?

Seng said...


You're welcome.

For the list of Shareholders, I usually refer to the Company Annual Report in the first instance, and then, update the list from Bursa website. I encourage you to explore Bursa website first, especially the Listed Companies and Company Announcements section where you can find both the Annual Reports and the Changes in Shareholdings -