Saturday, October 11, 2008

Opportunities In Crisis

MOST in the investment fraternity agree that with the huge dip in all markets, it’s time to go shopping for stocks. Selling at this point would be a poor strategy.

Capital Dynamics Asset Management managing director Tan Teng Boo says people are ignoring that oil prices are now so much lower than what it was in July. Come 2009, inflationary pressures will have eased tremendously, and this will primp markets for another run.

“Low oil prices will definitely help emerging markets, as it will also lower interest rates, hence boost consumer spending,”

“We are getting close to the bottom. If you are 100% in cash, then it’s time to invest. Even if you’re 50% cash, it’s time to start buying. We’re not there yet, but getting very close to where we should be long-term greedy. This is a once in a lifetime investment opportunity,” he says.
Standard & Poor’s Asia Equity Research Services director Alexander Chia sees the bottom happening within the next two quarters.

“Yes, for sure I see opportunities in times of crisis. With bad news being plastered everywhere, it is hard for the investor to maintain his perspective. Don’t let emotions take over.

“I don’t think people should be buying just yet, as investors are still selling into strength, but I believe the bottom is not far off,” Chia says. Chia opines that most funds are cashed up and waiting for that point of capitulation.

“Have your assets very liquid, so that when capitulation happens, you have the bullets to buy. For the time being, I see the market trading rangebound to lower,” he adds.

A fund manager says that if one follows the Buffet style of investing, (having a 3-5 year view), present times present exceptional opportunities.

“History has proven it. So if you have the money, it is a good time to start investing,” he says.
He adds that when there are declines in the major indices, investors will normally compare sectors and look at the more defensive sectors of the economy.

Says JP Morgan Securities head of broking Clement Chew: “In the short term, its unpredictable. But if you have to buy, some of the sectors to look at would include tobacco, power, telecoms, supermarkets and number forecasting operators. Look at companies that offer deep value with some sort of yield to support it,” he says.

Chew cautions that investing in commodities is still risky, as there is still a lot of unwinding in commodity trade going on.

Chew isn’t too bullish on properties either.

“The newsflow surrounding property stocks isn’t so good, and with lending being curtailed and credit shrinkage everywhere, this wouldn’t be such a good time. Regional property companies are trading at wider discounts to their revised net asset values. I don’t think you will see property stocks going up,” says Chew.