Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Market Correction - Time to buy?

In anticipation of technical downside risks in the market, we actually pared down our holdings in late January to raise cash levels to over 30% of the portfolio. This has worked out rather well as Asian markets have corrected sharply due to concerns over inflation, Chinese policy tightening, as well as fears of an oil shock sparked by tensions in the Middle East. 

We view such developments as short-term overhangs, and we have decided to add to the portfolio in incermental steps. A position was initiated in OCBC, which has a sizable insurance presence via its subsidiary Great Eastern Holdings as well as a strong private banking presence through its acquisition of ING Asia's private banking business in Singapore. While the stock is not cheap, we believe that OCBC will likely deliver the strongest ROE amongst the 3 local banks which should justify a slightly higher price-to-book multiple, and we picked up 250 shares at $9.25 today with a view to add more should the market continue to correct.

We also added 2000 shares of Tat Hong which delivered rather poor quarterly earnings for the most recent quarter. While the company currently faces some headwinds in China as well as Australia, we believe such issues are temporary and with the backing of $0.82 of tangible book value a share, we added 2000 more shares at $0.80.

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