Business Owner VS Share Holder

Now most of people know who Warren Buffett is. However, few really believed that a share holder of a public company is practically a business owner. To many people, including entrepreneurs and financial professionals, shares are papers exchangeable for cash. They buy shares simply for the hope of selling it at higher prices later. That’s why when people talk about shares they often raise questions like these:

Why do you think the price will go up (or down) for XYZ stock?
Is this the bottom of the market now?
Has ABC industry a good prospect in near future?
Shall I sell the shares of XYZ Company, when its share price goes down more than 8%?
Will there be a bull (or bear) market in the later half of the year?

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Burning Tough

2010 is the most difficult year I had went through as an investor. The only certain thing about the economy in 2010 is uncertainty. As I mentioned in my last article “Is this party time again?” China is still facing the same economic problem and the share market performance after the National Day is well reflecting such dilemma. Fortunately, I had invested mostly in US companies in last year and still got a 19% return on my portfolio.

At this very beginning of 2011, it’s again very difficult to predict the economic picture of the whole world. The key issue now is not US unemployment, neither government debt in certain European countries. It is China’s run-away inflation and “burning” (hot is not the right word now) property market having the potential power to suck everyone into another crisis. Why?

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Is This Party Time Again?

The share prices in worldwide stock market went up in the past 2 weeks. As an investor, I should be very happy with the capital under my management fully invested in US and HK markets. However, it’s China again. Although we only allocate a small portion of our capital to invest in the China A shares, we had only invested even much smaller portion before October.

Have we missed the party? Many people may regret for not plunging into the market earlier, or at least feel itchy to get into it now. I don’t think so. The Chinese economy is still in serious uncertainty at best, considering the huge property bubble and lacking of purchasing power in ordinary Chinese people. The fundamentals have not changed over the so called National Day. The bubble popped up by the inflation and speculation on the RMB exchange rate will bust at any time. However, it seems that the governments around world are all determined to print more money and a worldwide inflation is almost inevitable, especially if the Chinese government keeps the interest at such low level. Investing in natural resources should be a good idea under such circumstance, as many investors have been doing. I personally don’t like the idea because the commodity prices are largely decided by the world economy, while the economy is very hard to predict. Investing in good business is always a good idea, no matter in good or bad economy. A good business can not only survive a recession, but also grow stronger in a recovery.

Support Google’s stand

We strongly support Google’s decision not to accept Chinese censorship of searches made on its system in China. Doing the right thing is the most important thing for people who are not struggling for their survival, especially for rich people, because adding a zero to their earnings doesn’t make a lot of differences to a millionaire or a billionaire, unless he is lost in the money world. Cooperating with a government who deprives its people of rights of free speech and actively participating in the action is not just a business, but a crime!

Not Be Fooled by Viagra

There are many professional investors talking about the low valuation about the Chinese A shares recently. They even compared the price of H share or B share of the same company with its price of A share, and discovered that the A shares of certain companies are cheaper than their counter part in H or B share market. Therefore, the pros declared that A shares are cheap and the Chinese investors are again immature. It seems that they are right with the surge in the A share market on the 2nd day today.

Well, you can not just rely on the economy figures from the Chinese government to make your judgment on Chinese economy. If you had friends living and working as a slave of their properties, or you had taken a ride recently on the very new high speed train and realized that the train had been transporting chairs instead of passengers, or you were receiving promotion materials selling properties desperately located in some ghost town in your email box on weekly basis, you would not agree with these professionals.

China economy was sick even before the financial crisis from the US. And it’s now in a more sever condition now due to last year’s government policies. The policies and money were mostly aimed at creating an instant surge on the GDP, not on the health of the over all economy and well-being of its people. It was like a very sick man being given a Viagra and suddenly he’s up. And ladies desperately missing an orgasm were all cheering. However, a sick man shouldn’t have such erotic actions based on our common sense. It only made his health worse! Now, the effect of Viagra is over. He looks like shit!

With these in mind, the prices of A shares in general are still not cheap enough to cover risks of a property market crash, very likely defaults of local government loans, a possible banking system melt down and some unexpected skeleton in the cupboard.

Warren Buffett’s lesson about true success

In 2006, Warren Buffett pledged to give away almost his entire fortune to charities. He is adamant about not funding monuments to himself – no Warren Buffett buildings or halls.

He says, “I know people who have a lot of money. And they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. When you get to my age, you’ll measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. That’s the ultimate test of how you’ve lived your life.”

Isn’t that interesting how a multi-BILLIONAIRE says NOTHING about money in his definition of success?

And yet, how much time do most of us spend obsessing about making more money and all the things we want to do with that money when we make it?

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett on Success

In 2006, the two stood before business students at the University of Washington to share their personal philosophies about success.
(The following conversation is an excerpt of SkyQuestCom’s Master Channel January Highlight)

How do you define success personally?

WARREN: Well, I can certainly define happiness. Because that’s what I am. (Audience laugh) I get to do what I like to do every single day of the year and I get to do it with the people I like. I don’t have to associate with someone who causes my stomach to churn. (Audience laugh) And the only thing in my job I don’t like, and it only happens in about 3 or 4 years, is that occasionally I have to fire somebody. I don’t like that. It is the only thing, other than that, I tap dance to work.

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What Shall We Do?

It’s a difficult time for investors. Europe is under the dark cloud of shaky government finances, while Chinese economy is either on the way to a hard landing or a short landing in the best case senario. On the other hand, the stocks are not expensive except the A shares in China. It’s the time to pick the right stock at good price. Life goes on, no matter what will happen temparary to the world economy. When it’s all over, a good company will grow stronger. And even over this uncertain period of time, they are keeping making more money and preparing for better time.

Greece Is No Big Deal

All investors have Greek crisis in their mind now. But Greece is a small economy. The serious impact to the world economy will come from China. And this time it will be serious and real, because China economy took the wrong medicine in 2009, which made the desease worse. It will be a world full of uncertainties in the next 2 years. Well, there will be still opportunities to invest. Focus on business!

Chinese Property Bubble

The rental yield in Shanghai is about 2% now, a serious bubble! It’s close to the return of 1 year fix deposite. Considering the most recent CPI figure was over 2%, the rental yield is actually negative. This will affect the Chinese economy in many aspects, if not a pending crash in the economy. Be very cautious at investing in any assets in China now.

If you want to know more about the property bubble, look at the following link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_property_bubble