From applying POSB Invest Saver to opening a brokerage account with Maybank Kim Eng at a young age of 18, I realise that I have been in the stock market for more than 3 years. Not knowing my investment style at such a young age, my portfolio has evolved tremendously and I am pleased to reveal my portfolio today!
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2018: Dividend Stocks in Singapore
I previously shared my reflection on this blog about owning Singtel as my first stock. You may refer to this post where my mistake was not knowing why the share price drop to a 52 week low and was only after few months in the market that I know why Singtel fell even further.
2018 was also a year that I bought into Mapletree Logistics Trust and Frasers Logistics and Industrial Trust after seeing how attractive the dividend yield was.
In a nutshell, I was a dividend investor when I first started out, providing me with the extra dividends to supplement my allowance in Poly and to reinvest by setting aside a certain percentage into my warchest account for future opportunities. It also taught me an important lesson that interest rate plays a big role in banks and REITs and not to sell away a stock unless there is a change in fundamentals.
2019: Defensive Growth Stocks in Singapore
I continued to hold on to Singtel until July 2019, selling at break even after including dividends, thanks to Maybank Kim Eng having the intention to charge dividends handling fees for Singapore stocks. In hindsight, I am really thankful to Maybank for giving me the opportunity to sell Singtel as it plunged 30% and has not recovered since.
After hearing speculation that recession was looming, I positioned myself in a more defensive manner, looking at defensive counters in Singapore. This was how I came upon Koufu and wrote an article on why I bought it. The main investment thesis was that Koufu is providing an essential service in Singapore and Macau and that people prefer to settle for a cheap meal during recession as their purchasing power may not allow them to afford eating at restaurants. To add on, Koufu’s growth is similar to Sheng Siong where it depends on opening new outlets to drive revenue and net profit upwards. I thought I was satisfied with this kind of growth until I saw the actual growth stocks in the United States.
2020 and beyond: Growth Stocks
I entered 2020 with feeling cautiously optimistic about returns after a strong stock market performance in 2019, bearing in mind the speculation of recession. Came the 2020 Crash, though it was a painful yet fearful experience, I was prepared to deploy my fund. However, as a cautious investor, I stayed on the sideline till almost the end of the year before I initiated positions.
It was also the year where I came to a realisation that I needed a change in investing style if I wanted to pursue for more returns. What struck me the most is that young investors should go for growth investing and not dividend investing as the capital of an young investor is limited and will not benefit them in the long run. This resulted in DCA into S&P 500 ETF to build a sizable position in my portfolio as I am still not familiar with the US market.It took months for me to familiarise myself with the US market and pick individual stocks along.
I have been holding DBS for about a year already. Back then, the rationale of holding DBS is mainly for dividends and potential capital appreciation. All three banks listed in Singapore have its own merits – be it valuation wise or other metrics. However, the reason why I am willing to pay a premium to own DBS is due to its strong historical financial performance and its quarterly dividend payout. For instance, DBS grew its revenue by 27% in 5 years from $11.4 billion in 2016 to $14.6 billion in 2020, compared to OCBC’s 19% growth and UOB’s 13% growth over the same period.
Moving forward, DBS in my portfolio will be considered as a recovery play as economic outlook becomes more optimistic compared to a few months ago. I believe the biggest catalyst to DBS this year will be the potential upside in Net Profit after allowances as it expects total allowances to decline this year, back to what it will set aside in a normal year. In addition, with the steepening yield curve that will benefit banks in general, I think that there might be a surprise upside in what’s being forecasted by DBS of 1.45% to 1.5%. The anticipation of resuming normalised dividends payout and better earnings, it bodes well for bank shareholders this year with potential capital appreciation.
ETFs (IVV, QQQ, 3067, ARKK, ARKG)
There are 5 ETFs that I own in my portfolio, mainly IVV, QQQ, 3067, ARKK, ARKG.
In my reflection made in 2019, I mentioned the intention of buying into S&P 500 ETF to diversify into the US market as I was still unfamiliar with the market since I have been in the local market for the past years. I started accumulating IVV (iShares Core S&P 500 ETF) early last year using FSMOne ETF RSP. Back then, VOO (Vanguard S&P 500 ETF) was not offered on FSMOne ETF RSP, thus settling for IVV. When comparing ETFs tracking the same index, I usually look at Expense Ratio and Tracking Error. Both IVV and VOO have the same Expense Ratio of 0.03% but according to trackinsight, IVV has a lower tracking error of 0.02% compared to VOO’s 0.05%.
I understand the concern over 30% dividend tax holding, but I remain firm in my stand that I diversify into the US market for the capital gains and not for the dividends. However, if I were to continue accumulating as part of my lifetime investment plan, I would definitely consider Ireland domiciled ETF as the difference will be significant enough in nominal values.
Instead of concentrating my portfolio only in the US, I started to diversify into China especially in their technology companies with 3067 (iShares Hong Kong Tech ETF). Compared to other ETFs tracking the index, it has the lowest expense ratio of 0.25%. Hang Seng Tech Index consists of big prominent China companies such as Tencent, Alibaba, Xiaomi, JD Health, Meituan, JD, Kuaishou, NetEase and so on.
A feature that I like the most is Fast Entry where a newly listed security will be added to the index if its full market cap ranks within the top 10 of the existing constituents on its first trading day. Recent stocks that got listed in HKSE which benefited from this feature include JD Health and Kuaishou. As many mainland companies listed on US will be listing their shares on HKSE, I believe that the index will be refreshed with even more prominent tech names, making it more worth to hold for the long term.
ARK ETF being the most popular ETF in 2020 is not the main consideration why I hold them but it was the reason that made me take notice of their ETF offerings. Even though having QQQ gives me exposure to top 100 tech companies listed in the US, I believe that having an active fund manager managing the portfolio enables investors to stay ahead of the hottest trends and benefit from it. One should read up on the ARK’s Big Idea that’s published every year in January as it shares what trends that will be prominent going forward.
Alibaba has been in the news lately recently, from the failed IPO of Ant Group to the anti monopoly probe in late December. This resulted in its share price reacting negatively. While many are waiting for the possible revival of Ant Financial’s IPO after its restructuring and the outcome of the probe, Alibaba is still business as usual – growing its revenue by 38% YOY for the quarter ending December 31 2020.
Although Core Commerce contributes 87% of Alibaba’s revenue nine months ended December 31, it is a diversified company with many businesses in the segment. For instance, China Retail Marketplace, which houses Taobao and Tmall, contributes 46% of total revenue. Other notable businesses that contributed the remaining under the segment include Lazada, Freshippo, Cai Niao Logistics and Ele.Me. Furthermore, Alibaba Cloud, which contributes 8% to overall revenue, is growing at a faster rate of 50% YOY and turned EBITDA positive during the latest quarter.
As there is no conclusion to the probe, it is no doubt that the share price will be under pressure, thus being seen as an undervalued stock, with business as usual and revenue growing at an average rate of 35% every year. There have been rumours lately that it may be required to divest some businesses that are non-core to its core retail operations and get fined about US$1 billion though it was denied by China. It is uncertain when the regulator decides to announce the outcome of the probe and what actions could be taken against Alibaba. Optistimistic investors would hope that Alibaba will get away with just a fine but if things turn out worse, there will be a need to reevaluate the position in Alibaba.
The reason for investing in AMD is simple. AMD has been leveraging on Intel’s weakness in chip performance to gain market share since 2016 or so.
In the recent CES roadshow, AMD shared how its Ryzen 7 5800U performance is beating the latest Intel’s CPU by a mile. I expect that AMD will be leading in technology in the foreseeable future, maintaining its momentum in gaining market share from Intel.
Another bright spot that AMD investors should look at will be the Enterprise, Embedded and Semi Custom segment where it recorded $1.284 billion in revenue, a 176% revenue YOY growth in Q4 20. One of the reasons for the exponential rise would be that the gains in market share from Intel in the server segment. AMD grew its market share from 4.5% in Q4 2019 to 7.1% in Q4 2020. In its latest portfolio refresh conducted in March, its 3 rd Gen AMD EPYC is 106% faster than Intel Xeon Gold. This bodes well with AMD as it can continue to gain market share from Intel.
The key risk in investing in AMD would be the change in leadership in Intel and how it will affect the product offering and performance from Intel. This might disrupt the momentum and result in AMD losing market share back to Intel. The impending acquisition of Arm Holdings by Nvidia would also pose a risk to the CPU market as it is being dominated by x86 architecture. Looking at how powerful the M1 powered Macbook’s performance is, it is a matter of time PC manufacturers switched over to ARM processors that will negatively affect AMD’s financial performance.
I believe Apple’s largest breakthrough in recent months is the release of M1 powered Macbook Pro and its ability to convert Windows users to buy Macbook Pro. Macbook Pro was once expensive and the performance does not match how expensive it is. However, after watching multiple videos comparing M1 Macbook Pro with multiple Windows such as XPS 13 (running the latest Intel i7 chip) and ASUS ROG Strix (running AMD’s Ryzen 5900HX), I am impressed based on the Geekbench performance.
For instance, M1 Macbook Pro performs better in both single and multi core when comparing Intel i7 chip and only loses out by 10% in multi core when comparing with AMD’s chip. The insane performance from just the first generation of Apple Silicone chip has convinced and converted me to own a Macbook Pro soon. With Mac sales contributing just 8% of total revenue in the latest quarter, I foresee a greater adoption in using Macbook thus translating to more sales and growth in the future.
Apple’s plan on reducing its reliance on iPhone is executing well as it tries to grow its segments such as Services. In the latest quarter, 59% of its revenue contribution comes from iPhone while 14% of its revenue contribution comes from Services. Services segment as a whole is recurring in nature thus providing stability in sales and preventing any season sales pattern. Apple managed to increase services contribution from just 5% in 2015 to the current 14.55% in the latest quarter.
As Apple grew its global smartphone market share by 3% to 201.1 million in 2020, it continues to add users and devices to its existing ecosystem of 1 billion and 1.6 billion respectively, Apple has room to continue to grow its services segment. I believe the introduction of Apple One, an all in one subscription plan, would increase the stickiness of Apple users in the ecosystem, therefore increase the stability of Apple’s revenue.
The recent SUNBURST malware has caused many companies in the world to reconsider how they should manage their security, as it served as a wake up call for companies using legacy technology that the technology is no match for today’s adversaries. This resulted in many companies in the world forgoing the use of legacy and inferior next-gen security technologies and accelerating their move to modern cloud-native technologies to meet the demands of today’s threat landscape. This puts Crowdstrike in a favourable position as many companies are increasingly choosing CrowdStrike as their security cloud platform.
2020 was a fantastic year for Crowdstrike as it reported 82% YOY growth in subscribers to 9896, with 58% of Fortune 100 companies and 60% of top 20 banks being its subscribers. Not only that, it reported a 84% YOY growth in subscription revenue from $436.3 million in FY20 to $804.7 million in FY21 and achieved $1.05 billion of ARR at the end of the FY.
Crowdstrike can continue to grow its revenue inorganically through growing subscribers count but it can also grow organically with its existing subscribers. Crowdstrike has a track record where its subscribers take up more modules each year. Take for example, 63% of its subscribers subscribed to 4 or more modules, an increase from 30% 4 years ago. Furthermore, Crowdstrike has a track record of having strong customer retention. Using Dollar-Based Retention Rates, it is able to achieve above its benchmark of 120% for 2 years. This means that existing subscribers are paying more compared to the previous year, thus allowing the company to grow organically with its existing customers.
Crowdstrike believes that companies are spending less than intended on cloud workloads. Companies worldwide are only spending 1.1% of Cloud IT on Cloud Security, which is less than what IDC recommends of between 5% and 10%. What this means is that Crowdstrike might have a larger Total Addressable Market than what it is currently estimated to be. This can only happen if more companies are more aware of the importance of setting aside more budget on Cloud Security and partnering with trustable provider such as Crowdstrike on its security needs.
Investing in LMND is akin to investing into the story painted by the management. The management founded Lemonade after realising the sheer scale of the Insurance industry. It shared in the IPO prospectus that Insurance is one of the largest industries in the world, with a Total Addressable Market of about $5 trillion globally, and accounts for 11% of US’ GDP (of about $2 trillion in US alone).The amazing part of the industry is no single insurance company commands a majority of the market share globally. The management shared that no single insurance company has a market share greater than 4% yet the world’s top insurance companies each generate over $100 billion in revenue.
Management is therefore confident that it is able to disrupt the industry if it offers Insurance in another perspective, with the use of technology. Management believes it will make insurance more delightful, affordable, precise and socially impactful. Lemonade incorporates technology, such as its artificial intelligence system, in onboarding customers or managing claims. For example, Al Maya is a bot that enables customers to get covered with Lemonade in a matter of just two minutes using their website or through their app while Al Jim is another bot that pays claims in as little as three seconds. Management is confident that the speed in which customers are insured is unmatched by insurance carriers, thus fulfilling its goal of making insurance more delightful. It is no doubt that Lemonade only took just 4.25 years to reach 1 million customers.
The use of Machine Learning has enabled Lemonade to become better in delighting customers, thus reducing hassle, time, and cost associated with purchasing insurance. In addition, as claims are processed with its bot, it will be able to learn from the data generated and help quantify risk and thus reducing loss ratio in the long run.
Lemonade has a concrete plan on how it will achieve organic growth in the long run. As 70% of its customers are under the age of 35 and about 90% of them said they were not switching to another carrier, Lemonade will be able to grow with them through predictable lifecycle events from Renters, Condo and Homeowners. Customers’ needs will grow as the customers age and thus in force premium per customer would increase too. Lemonade calls this phenomenon “graduation” when a customer upgrades their policy from a Lemonade renters policy to a Lemonade condo or homeowner policy. This results in premium jumping 6 times from $150 to $900 without any incremental cost to acquire. In a bid to drive further growth, Lemonade also introduced policies such as Pet and Life, which will contribute to the financials soon.
Unlike other conventional insurers in the world, where profits is heavily dependent on the frequency and degree of claims from customers that is beyond insurer’s control, Lemonade believes the way to minimise this is through the utilisation of Re-insurance business model. Under the model, Lemonade cedes 75% of the premium to reinsurers, and in return gets back 25% of the ceded premium. In addition, it gets to keep 25% of the remaining premium and in totality, Lemonade share of premium stands at 43.75%. With the model, Lemonade would not need to reserve as much as 50% of every dollar premium sold, but instead Lemonade only requires $0.14 as capital surplus requirement, thus being a capital light business. Re-insurance aids Lemonade in achieving certain goals such as being a capital-light business, highly recurring revenue streams, reduces the volatility thus stability in gross margin and room to grow its gross margin further.
Sea operates three core businesses across digital entertainment, e-commerce, as well as digital payments and financial services, known as Garena, Shopee and SeaMoney respectively. Sea is a fast growing company where its three core businesses are benefiting from the secular tech trend, with a boost from the pandemic. Overall revenue grew 101% from $2.175 billion to $4.375 billion, with the E-Commerce segment growing 160% YOY to $2.167 billion from $834.3 million. Another bright spot of Sea will be to continue growing its Digital Financial Services segment where its revenue grew 5 times from $9.2 million to $60.8 million. Not forgetting Digital Entertainment segment, its cash cow to fund its other two growing segments, FY bookings grew 80% to $3.2 billion from $1.8 billion, while EBITDA grew to $2 billion, an increase of 94%,
Garena needs no further introduction. As I am not a gamer, I cannot comment much on how great Garena is but from my knowledge, Garena distributes games created by Tencent Games such as Call of Duty, League of Legends and also develops its own game such as Free Fire which is apparently a popular game. The Digital Entertainment segment continues to increase its Quarterly Active Users where it experienced a 72% increase in user base from 354.7 million to 610.6 million, while its Quarterly Paying Users increased 120% from 33.3 million to 73.1 million. Sea’s execution of growing its Quarterly Paying Users is paying off as 12% of its customer base are paying customers, an increase from 10% a year ago. Sea can continue to engage its customers by organising esports tournaments or to continue refresh its existing games offering.
We know Shopee through its pretty much annoying advertisement by Phua Chu Kang but do you know that Shopee is ranked #1 by App Annie for average MAUs, total time in app on Android and downloads in Southeast Asia and Taiwan and #3 most downloaded app globally in the shopping category? It is no surprise that Sea is able to double its GMV from $17.6 billion to $35.4 billion and to increase its Gross Orders by 133% from 1.2 billion to 2.8 billion last year. Shopee’s success can be attributed to the localisation strategy where its platform rolls out products, marketing promotions and campaigns that are tailored to the shopping preferences and user behaviour of each market in Southeast Asia which varies widely from country to country.
I believe the next growth potential for Sea will be in their Digital Financial Services. Out of the 583 million people living in Southeast Asia, 50% of its population is unbanked which gives Sea a great opportunity to tap on the market in the coming years. SeaMoney consists of businesses such as Payments and Financing. Think ShopeePay and AirPay as your typical digital wallets like Grabpay, Singtel Dash. There are many digital wallets out in the market but for a digital wallet to be adopted by consumers, it must be integrated or tied to the ecosystem, in this case Shopee, the largest e-commerce site. With this integration, it creates customer stickiness to the ecosystem and makes it a more successful digital wallets than other competitors.
Sea is determined to grow its Digital Financial Services as it was recently awarded a digital banking license in Singapore and acquired a bank in Indonesia into a digital bank. The acquisition is in line with what SeaMoney is offering in its financing business where it is currently offering Consumer Loans (Buy Now, Pay Later model), Cash Loans (Digital Bank) and Seller Financing in Indonesia. As 30% or 83.1m of Indonesia’s population is unbanked as of November 2019, Sea has an immersive market to tap on to grow this segment exponentially.
Palantir has fundamentals compared to all other meme stocks discovered by Reddit.
Palantir has two main products serving two different type of customers – Government and Commercial. Gotham is used by the Government where it enables users to identify patterns hidden deep within datasets, and helps personnel find what they are looking for. It also facilitates the handoff between analysts and operational users, helping operators plan and execute real-world responses to threats that have been identified within the platform. Foundry, on the other hand, transforms the way in which organisations interact with information by creating a central operating system for their data. Individual users can integrate and analyse the data they need in one place. With a central operating system, Palantir enables everyone to work on the data, even without any coding knowledge.
As Palantir started off as a secret software company for the military, the direct listing of Palantir last year raised awareness to the commercial companies globally. In 4Q 2020 alone, Palantir signed 21 deals each worth $5 million or more, about 60% of which were each worth $10 million or more. As many commercial companies see the value in integrating their data using Palantir software, we should be expecting more deals win from Palantir going forward.The wins should be able to translate into lesser customer concentration from their top 20 customers, which is currently at 61%, a decrease from 67% a year ago.
Cryptocurrencies (BTC, ETH and CRO)
Prior to a greater adoption and acceptance of Cryptocurrency by entities such as Regulators, Banks, Institutional Investors and Public Companies, my stand on Cryptocurrency was that it is meant for speculation purposes only and that the only time I will be exposed to Cryptocurrency is when there are benefits in using it.
My first exposure with Cryptocurrency is with CRO where I stake CRO in order to get a crypto.com Visa Card. The crypto.com Visa Card allows me to get 2% cashback in CRO coins for all transactions made using the card and 100% rebate in Spotify.
However, in recent times, Bitcoin has been gaining credibility from stakeholders. For example, in October 2020, DBS announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange while public companies like Tesla and Square announced that it is investing in Bitcoin. This made me realise that the need of a mindset change towards Cryptocurrency beyond just a speculative instrument. I initiated a small position of 1% each to Bitcoin and Ethereum in January when it corrected and my allocation on a cost basis doubled for both coins since my initial position.
I feel the real risk of investing in Cryptocurrency is having the mentality that it is meant for trading and speculation. With an increase in adoption of Cryptocurrency by stakeholders in the community, I believe that we are not in a massive bubble. I feel that as time goes by, adoption and acceptance will be greater and the rally going forward should be sustainable. ARK Invest suggests that allocations to Bitcoin should range from 2.55% when minimizing volatility to 6.55% when maximizing returns. I am comfortable with my current Cryptocurrency allocation in my portfolio, I do not see the need of concentrating my assets towards Cryptocurrency.