Are these outstanding Bursa stock tips - what to buy?

Stock Tips.  This post is about "How to cut down your investing time, look here".   It is a quick guide to all the case studies in the blog so that you make an informed decision whether to invest in the companies featured.   Revision date: 18 Oct 2020

What to invest in? What to buy?

We are all looking for investing tips. It is a short-cut to getting ideas of what to invest without having to do much work.

The reality is that those asking for stock tips are assuming that it would enable them to make money.

For this to be true, you have to understand the basis of the tips
  • What was considered in arriving at the recommendation?
  • How was the value derived?
  • Did it factor in any risk?

As a prelude to my stop tips, I compiled several infographics that answered these questions.

At the same time, from a risk mitigation perspective, the market price of the stocks should be trading at some discount to the intrinsic values. 

While all value investors agree that companies have intrinsic values, we all differ in our estimates of the values. This is because we have different views on the prospects of the companies. These affect the assumptions used in the computation. 

At the same time, while there may only be a few valuation approaches, there are nuances to the valuation models that affect the final value.

For the layman, one approach to make sense of what is out there is to try to triangulate a value.

To help achieve this, I have tabulated the various free online valuations based on the first page of Google search.


Contents

  • Stock tips
    • Source of the tips
    • Are they in line with your investment approach?
    • Do they share the same risk approach
    • What to do with stock tips
  • What to consider when investing
  • How to value companies
  • Risk mitigation measures when investing
  • Eksons
  • Asia File
  • These are not Value Traps
    • Allianz Malaysia Bhd
    • Damansara Realty Bhd
    • ECM Libra Group Bhd
    • Ewein Bhd
    • MB World Group Bhd
    • Paramount Corporation Bhd
    • Symphony Life Bhd
  • UOA
  • CSC Steel

Stock tips

Stock tips

The Oxford dictionary defined “tip” as a “small but useful piece of practical advice”.  

A stock tip should then be interpreted as a small but useful piece of practical advice about investing in a particular stock.

In this context, I would like to differentiate between a stock tip and an investing or investment tip
  • A stock tip relates to a recommendation about a particular company.  
  • An investing or investment tip refers to advice on how to invest.  It is independent of the stocks or companies you invest in. 

I am talking about the former ie what to buy or sell. 

However, investing means different things to different people and before you act on the stock tips, it is useful to consider the following
  • Source of the tips
  • Are they in line with your investment approach?
  • Do they share the same risk approach?

Source of the tips

It is important to know the source of the tips so that you can identify the motives.

You can decide on the quality of the tips.  A good stock tip should be one that is
  • Well researched
  • There are justifications for the recommendation
  • There is transparency

What are some of the possible sources and/or motives for the stock tips?
  • To market products or services to you
  • Part of a casual conversation
  • To scam you

1) The stock tips could be part of the tipster marketing plan.  For examples, there are many web sites offering stock tips
  • The Street by Jim Cramer offers a daily bevy of stock picks, starting points for stock analysis, and stock ideas
  • Newspapers occasionally feature stock picks for the month, year, etc. 

2) Many working in the stock market/investing sector are frequently asked about stock tips. Ideally, to be useful, the stock tips should be given to a selected group. 

3) Scams are investment schemes to get you to part with your money on the promise of a questionable financial opportunity.

You should not be surprised as investment scam (not related to the stock market) has been around for ages. 

It is more common than you think.  
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) even has a webpage warning of this.  
  • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has a Scam Watch web site
  • In Malaysia, the Securities Commission has warned about stock scams in the national media. 

There are several forms of investment scams, but I want to focus on those involving giving tips
  • Pump and Dump
  • Churning and the similar Wash Trading
  • Stock Bashing and the similar Bear Raid
  • Run and/or Ramp
  • Lure and Squeeze
  • Chop Stock

a) You could be part of a Pump and Dump scam where scammers buy thinly traded stocks at a low price. 
  • They then praise the stocks by email or other social media platforms. When people buy the stocks, the price naturally is “pumped” up. 
  • The scammers then “dumped” the shares they own driving the price down. You then become a victim holding the stock at a loss.  

In Mac 2019, Bitcoin started to recover after hitting a low of $ 3,360.  It started to rise dramatically to peaked at $7,542 in May before dropping.  Many alluded to this as a pump and dump scheme. 

There have been movies featuring pump and dump schemes. "Boiler Room" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" are two such movies.  They featured telemarketing stockbrokers pitching stocks in companies with highly questionable prospects.

b) The person giving the stock tips could be part of a “Churning” scheme where a broker places both buy and sell orders at about the same price. The increase in activity is intended to attract more investors, and increase the price.

This also enables the broker to trade excessively to generate commissions. 

According to the law office of Martin Mushkin LLC,

“The elderly are a trusting group whose accounts are among those most often churned.  And immigrants seem particularly vulnerable to this ploy, particularly entrepreneurs and professionals...”

A similar scheme is Wash Trading.  This is selling and re-purchasing substantially the same security to generate activity and increase the price.

In 2016, the SEC arrested 2 persons for coordinated trading in more than $10 billion worth of securities in dozens of brokerage accounts. 

These 2 looked for companies with low trading volumes and then entered numerous trades using “helper” accounts.  This artificially inflated their prices.  Later they sold the shares in “winner” accounts at artificially inflated prices after accumulating positions at lower prices.

c) Stock Bashing. The people behind this scheme make up false and/or misleading information about the target company in an attempt to get shares for a cheaper price. 

They try to drive a stock price down by trying to convince shareholders they have bought worthless security. The next step is then to buy and profit from a pump and dump scheme. 

Smaller companies are generally targeted because the markets are more easily manipulated.

According to the SEC

“… fraudsters may exploit social media... spreading false and misleading information .. to affect the stock’s share price. Wrongdoers may perpetuate stock rumours.... on online bulletin boards and in Internet chat rooms.”

Very similar to stock bashing is the Bear Raid.  Here traders try to forcibly lower the price of a stock to cover the price of a short position.  This is normally achieved by spreading negative rumours about the target company, which puts negative pressure on the share price.

One of the most famous bear raids on Wall Street occurred in October 1997. Short sellers noticed the sharp slide in the Hang Seng index and began shorting US-stock index futures. The Dow Industrials began to lose ground, tumbling 450 points in the first few weeks of October

d) The opposite of stock bashing is the Run and/or Ramp. These are actions designed to artificially raise the market price of listed securities.  And give the impression of voluminous trading to make a quick profit. 

The Guinness share-trading fraud in the 1980s is a good example of this. The parties involved manipulated the London stock market to inflate the price of Guinness shares.  This assisted Guinness's takeover bid for the Scottish drinks company Distillers.

e) A Lure and Squeeze scheme is used for a company that is very distressed and looks as if it will declare bankruptcy.  People new to the stock short it based on the company’s poor outlook.  As a result, the price starts to drop. 

The short continues until the number of shorted shares greatly exceeds the total number of shares that are not held by those undertaking the scheme. 

In the meantime, those organizing the scheme purchase the stock as the price drops to lower.

When the short interest has reached a maximum, the company announces it has made a deal with its creditors to settle its financial position.  This positive news caused the stock price to rise and those with the short positions will be squeezed. 

Near its peak price, the scammers start to sell and the price gradually falls back down.

There are many today who think that VTV Therapeutics that is listed on Nasdaq is a potential stock squeeze. 

f) A Chop Stock is one that is purchased at pennies per share.  This is then sold to unsuspecting retail customers at several dollars per share.

The scammer generally acquires a block of shares that have little or no liquidity prior to the block purchase. The scammer then sells the stock to their brokerage customers at the then-current quoted offer/ask price. Often victimized investors are generally unaware of this practice. 

Not surprisingly, such scams usually involve penny stocks

Are they in line with your investment approach?

There are several investment styles from 
  • Short term trading vs long term investing 
  • Technical vs fundamentals
  • Quant vs discretionary
  • Value investment vs growth investing

When you receive the stock tips, you have to be aware of whether stock tips and/or the tipster is in line with your investment approach. 
  • You can imagine the disaster that the tip is intended for a day trader but you treat it as a long-term investment
  • If your investment is to be different from the crowd, the stock tip is not likely to be useful as it would have been given to many as well

One of the factors for successful investing is having a consistent investment approach. You should not let a stock tip change this. 


Do they share the same risk approach?

There are 2 schools of thought when it comes to risk
  • Those that consider volatility as a measure of risk
  • Those that consider a permanent loss of capital as a risk

Both approaches approach risk mitigation differently and this will impact on
  • Portfolio construction
  • The holding periods
  • Whether you treat the investment as investing in pieces of paper or part share of a company

Very likely the tipster would not be thinking of risk when the tip is given.


What to do with stock tips

  • The main goal of getting the stock tip is that it helps you cut short your investment process.
  • You should then review it in the context of your investment approach and risk mitigation plan
  • The last thing you should do is to be caught in the emotion of the stock tip and change your investment style because of it.

What to consider when investing

There are 3 key questions to consider when investing
  • What to buy
  • How much to buy
  • When to sell

I find that the value investing school provides the best way to answer them.
  • You buy those companies trading at a discount to its intrinsic value. You buy a bargain. You buy into those companies where you are unlikely to lose your investment.
  • You put more money into those companies that you have the greatest conviction. This could be based on the biggest margin of safety or highest quality, etc all of which are valuing investing concepts
  • You sell when the market price exceeds the intrinsic value. Or you sell if you have made a mistake in your analysis and valuation

The infographics below summarizes the key points for each of them.


Stock Tips: What to consider when investing


How to value companies

If you are a value investor, you use the difference between the market price and the intrinsic value to answer questions like
  • What to buy
  • When to buy
  • When to sell
Even determining how much to buy is influenced by the intrinsic value. You allocate more to those companies with higher margins of safety. And this is dependent on the difference between market price and intrinsic value.

Valuation then is one of the key elements of value investing. 

There are two main ways to value a company
  • Asset-based where you consider the assets as a store of value
  • Earnings-based where you consider the assets as a creator of value

You should adopt both the Asset-based and Earnings-based methods. Comparing the results of both will provide strategic insights.

As the infographic illustrates, these approaches will enable you to triangulate the intrinsic value.


Stock Tips: How to value companies


Risk mitigation when investing

I defined risk as a permanent loss of capital. To protect yourself from such a situation, I recommend a 2-tiered approach
  • First, allocate your net worth using the 3 buckets strategy
  • Then have a comprehensive risk mitigation plan for investing in risky assets

The 3 Buckets strategy is about dividing your net worth into 3 parts
  • Have 2 years of annual expenditure as cash - Bucket 1
  • Have another 8 years of annual expenditure invested in assets that protect the capital eg government bonds - Bucket 2
  • The balance of your net worth is allocated to risky assets eg stocks - Bucket 3

The 3 Buckets strategy will ensure that you are not forced to sell your risky assets at the wrong time just to meet some emergencies. 

Then when it comes to preventing permanent loss of capital, you need a set of measures to cover the 3 main investment risks
  • A reduction in the intrinsic values due to changes in the business fundamentals. Such changes can be due to socio-economic issues, political reasons or plain bad luck
  • Errors made during the analysis and valuation
  • Those due to behavioral biases

The infographic below summarizes this risk management approach.


Stock tips: How to manage risk

When it comes to risk mitigation, once you have identified the risks you have to put in place a number of measures to address them as follows
  • Adopt a conservative approach
  • Have a margin of safety
  • Focus on quality stocks
  • Diversify
  • Understand the company well
  • Invest for the long term
  • Have a cut-loss strategy
  • Invest more in those where you have higher conviction
  • Incorporate Beta into your valuation
  • Focus on the downside

The infographic summarizes the 10 key measures that you should adopt when investing.

Stock tips:  Risk mitigation measures


Eksons

The Eksons infographic below summarizes the business analysis and valuation of Eksons. For details visit the posts dated 7 June 2020 and 21 June 2020

It shows that Eksons is not a value trap because
  • This is a classic Graham Net Net long term investment – you have downside protection and you bet on the upside.
  • The Group is financially strong and not burning cash giving it time to put its recovery plan into action.
  • Despite its challenges, Eksons' intrinsic value is higher than its current price. Its cash, securities and other assets are not going to be wasted away.

Value traps and bargains are opposite sides of the value investing coin. Since it is not a value trap, Eksons must be a bargain. 

Investing is also about not following the crowd. The table below will enable you to get a sense of the crowd’s valuation.


No

Resources based on 1st Page of Google Search

Types of analysis

 

1


iSaham

Technical

2

Malaysia Stock Biz


Share price

3

KLSE i3Investor


Share price

 

4

Infront


Multiples

5

Morningstar


Multiples

6

Finbox


Fundamentals

7

WSJ


Financial ratios

8

Simply Wall St


Financial ratios, and multiples

 


Stock tips: Eksons is not a value trap


Asia File

To beat the market, you have to be able to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

The table below is intended to give you a sense of the crowd’s valuation of Asia File. 

Compare this with the analysis and valuation of Asia File in the infographics that show that this is not a value trap. (For details refer to the posts 5 July 2020 and 19 July 2020)
  • The intrinsic value is intact implying that it is undervalued rather than a value trap.
  • Asia File is financially strong giving it time to seek a diversification path
  • The market price does not reflect its Asset value let alone the Earnings value.  There is thus downside protection

Since value traps and bargains are opposite sides of the value investing coin, it must mean that Asia File is a safe buy. 

But this view is based on my analysis of its intrinsic value.   Since there are several ways to estimate this intrinsic value, would the answer be still the same from other lenses?


No

Resources based on 1st Page of Google Search

 

Remarks/types of analysis

 

1

 Infront

 

Multiples

2

Simply Wall St 


Financial ratios, and multiples

3

KLSE i3Investor

 

Share price

4

Malaysia Stock Biz

 

Share price

5

Sound Asia

 

DCF

6

Insider Asia

 

An analyst report by Insider Asia

7

Morningstar 

 

Multiples


Stock tips;  Asia File is not a value trap


These are not Value Traps

It is hard to screen for value traps based on market multiples as these are not intrinsic values.

These do not apply for 2 categories of companies
  • Financial institutions
  • Property companies

For financial institutions, most of their assets and liabilities are financial instruments and accounting rules require them to be “marked to market”.  The Balance Sheet reflects the market prices and we have a quick way to determine intrinsic value. 

For property developers, most of their assets relate to land and buildings and are very good proxies of their intrinsic values.

We can then screen both these categories of companies for value traps based on the following criteria
  • Price < 0.80 Book value to build in some margin of safety
  • Companies to be profitable for a continuous 3 years
  • ROE > 10% so that there is a good chance that they are earning more than the cost of capital

The infographics illustrate that the following companies that have passed such a screen. (Refer to the post dated  28 June 2020 for details) 
  • Allianz Malaysia Bhd
  • Damansara Realty Bhd
  • ECM Libra Group Bhd
  • Ewein Bhd
  • MB World Group Bhd
  • Paramount Corporation Bhd
  • Symphony Life Bhd

The opposite of value traps is bargains.  Since these companies are not value traps, I can deduce that they are safe to invest in. 


Stock tips: These are not value traps


UOA Ltd

UOA Ltd is listed on both the Australian (ASX) and Singapore (SGX) stock exchanges. At the same time, the majority of its operations are in Malaysia undertaken by 2 companies listed on Bursa Malaysia - UOA Development Berhad and UOA REIT. 

In order to get a sense of the crowd’s valuation of UOA Ltd, you need to look at these 3 markets as well as the valuation of all these 3 listed entities in comparison with the infographic.

For details of the analysis and valuation in the infographics, refer to the 3-part series of 2 Aug 202016 Aug 2020, and 30 Aug 2020.  

The conclusion that UOA Ltd is not a value trap is based on the following: 
  • At the current market price of AUD 0.63 per share, there is an ample margin of safety
  • The analysis has not suggested that there will be any impairment of the assets.   There is a low risk of reducing its intrinsic value
  • While growth will be challenging, the Group would be able to sustain its performance.  This means that the Earning Power Value is a reliable indicator of the intrinsic value.  

Since value traps and bargains are opposite sides of the value investing coin, it must mean that the market has mispriced UOA Ltd.


No

Resources based on 1st Page of Google Search

 

Reference company

Remarks/types of analysis

 

1

Yahoo Finance


UOA Ltd

Share Price, multiples

2

Strawman


UOA Ltd

Community valuation

3

Simply Wall Street


UOA Ltd

Financial ratios, and multiples

4

Morningstar


UOA Ltd

Multiples

5

Finbox


UOA Dev

Price, fundamentals

6

Simply Wall Street


UOA Dev

Financial ratios, and multiples

7

RHB Research


UOA Dev

Analyst report - RNAV

8

Share Investor


UOA Dev

Share Price

9

KLSE.i3investor

 

UOA REIT

Share price

10

Value Invest Asia


UOA REIT

Research piece - multiple

11

Simply Wall Street


UOA REIT

Financial ratios, and multiples

12

Malaysia Stock.biz

 

UOA REIT

Share price


Note: Because of 3 listed companies in 3 different stock exchanges, I listed the top 4 sites for each of the listed entities. 


Stock tips: UOA Ltd is not a Value Trap



CSC Steel

CSC Steel is the largest cold roll mill in Malaysia that is currently trading at a discount to its Graham Net Net. 

Is this a value trap?

Compare this with the analysis and valuation of CSC Steel in the infographics that show that this is not a value trap. 
  • CSC Steel is financially strong with zero borrowings and RM 295 million cash. It would be able to weather a longer downturn if this happens.
  • It has a strong track record of being profitable during the past 12 years which covered two peaks and two troughs of the price cycle.
  • It has paid an average of RM 0.08 dividend per share over the past 12 years. At the current price of RM 0.835 per share, it is equivalent to about a 10% annual dividend yield. Not a bad recurring income while waiting for the capital gain.
  • CSC Steel is the best performer in the Malaysian cold roll industry. The biggest companies are often the safest.
  • There is the potential for enhanced performance.  This is in the event the Malaysian government adopts some trade measures to protect the local industry.  This will of course depend on how MegaSteel reactivates its business.
  • As part of China Steel Corporation of Taiwan, CSC Steel will have access to expertise for both product and process innovation to remain competitive.

But this view is based on my analysis of its intrinsic value.   Since there are several ways to estimate this intrinsic value, would the answer be still the same from other lenses?

The table below lists some resources to get alternative views of the value of CSC Steel so that you can triangulate your own view. 


No

Resources based on 1st Page of Google Search

Remarks/types of analysis

 

1

Simply Wall Street


Financial ratios, and multiples

2

iSaham


Technical

3

Investing.com

 

Technical

4

Morningstar

 

Multiples

5

Share Investor.com

 

Share price

6

Bloomberg

 

Multiples

7

WSJ

 

Financials




Is CSC Steel a Value Trap?







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Disclaimer
I am not an investment adviser, security analyst or stockbroker.  The contents are meant for educational purposes and should not be taken as any recommendation to purchase or dispose of shares in the featured companies.   Investments or strategies mentioned in this website may not be suitable to you and you should have your own independent decision regarding them. 

The opinions expressed here are based on information I consider reliable but I do not warrant its completeness or accuracy and should not be relied on as such. 

I may have equity interests in some of the companies featured.




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