Monthly Archives: August 2007

Wall street 101

The following is copied from the bbs at world famous mit. I pasted it here so people in China can get to it. The article explains the career path of wall street. For ordinary investors who are not going to wall street, this article also explains how finance works…IBD stands for investment banking division.

Let me know what you think.

(author: mywellness) 不少网友对投行以及其它金融行业都表现出了很大的兴趣。不过有不少道听途说的传闻
并不可信。而且很多帖子对一些概念定义比较混乱,不少人甚至对投行干些什么都不甚
清楚。我在这里科普一下,众位大牛不要见笑。这个帖子侧重于介绍金融的一些职业分
工,以及简单的职业道路介绍。

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Step back

The market is full of news these days, and it looks like the drama will be on for a while. But will “tape reading all the time” be helpful for investing? Interestingly I read an abstract of an article on this topic (written by a finance professor at Wash. U.), his conclusion is no. In other words, step back from the market may work out better. But the human nature of “making quick money” can be felt everywhere, especially in China these days. Do we really want to miss the next big thing?

As I was also reading Buffett’s essays (annual letter to his shareholders), I felt I need to learn systematically about finance. I also wanted to learn more about “how to valuate a business”, which is the key to long term investing.

Amid all these, I decided to scale back my blogging frequency a bit, from two posts a day to one post every 3, 4 or 7 days. This hopefull will also help relieve the stress of my hand. I wanted to save key strokes and mouse clicking, so that I can continue to work as programmer for the foreseeble future.

As a side benifit, I may be able to write better quality articles now that I’m scaling back…

Three ways to buy H shares

With the Chinese goverment recent policy of “opening H shares to domestic investors”, there are three ways to buy H shares for China domestic investors, and people with different investment objectives and pockets can pick and choose.

1) QDII: there are many bank issued QDII products. Those products mostly invest in H shares, and it’s very likely the fund managers will buy something they are familar, the Chinese companies listed in Hongkong. This is indirect way of buying H shares; it carries modest risk and the return will also be moderate.

2) Open an account in Hongkong Stock Exchange directly: this is not officially endorsed by the Chinese regulators. But many people have done that, and I think those people at least enjoyed the recent “bump” after the “China life gate to H shares” news. In reality, I think those are “forward thinking” investors, and they usually have deep pockets. The down side of this approach is: it’s difficult to get the money in and out of China, because that’s not blessed by the goverment.

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Best buy in Shanghai

Last Saturday we went to Xu Jia Hui, one of the better known shopping centers in Shanghai. I voguely remember there were not too much when my bro and I visited there in 1991. It was completely developed in last 15 years. There are many stores, including Gang Hui Plaza, Metro City, etc. We found the newest store in Xu Jia Hui, Best Buy, the US electronics and applicance retailer. I heard from Wang Jianshuo the Best Buy opened its first store in Shanghai. But when I stood at the sky bridge leading to Best Buy, I was still a bit surprised. The store has 4 stories and lots of people, both customers and store clerks. Here are some pictures:

IMG_5216

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AT&T and IBM

I found some interesting articles about AT&T and IBM. They are written by Wu Jun, a research scientist at Google. I like Wu Jun’s writing style (humorous), and his business perspective of the two companies (very good).

Here is the link to AT&T articles; and here is link to IBM series. Both are in Chinese, and there are 6 articles for each company.

One thing I felt amazing about IBM is this (quote the article):

在小华生执掌 IBM 的二十年里,IBM 的平均年增长率高达 30%,这在世界上可能是绝无仅有的,他的父亲也没有做到这一点。

Translated in English: in the 20 years when Watson Jr. was the CEO of IBM, the average anual growth rate is 20%. No other company has done that. His father Waton Sr. did not accomplish that either.

Shanghai Composites and second offerings

The Shanghai Composites Index closed above 5000 the first time on August 23, Thursday. The interesting thing is, this time Chinese goverment is not as nervous as last time around (May 30), because this run up is largely drived by so-called blue chips: especially large banks where the goverment is the majority owner (ICBC, BOC,…).

For smaller investor like us, I think we should look beyond the market, and look at individual companies. By incident (what an incident), two large blue chip companies, Vanke (000002), and Citic Securities (600030). Here is the bloomberg news for Citic Securities secondary.

The Beijing-based company will offer as many as 350 million new shares at 74.91 yuan on Aug. 27, it said in a statement today. It would be China’s third-biggest stock sale this year. The shares jumped 5.9 percent to a record 94.95 yuan in Shanghai.

Citic Securities, after passing Japan’s Nomura Holdings Inc. in market value this week, is seizing on investor enthusiasm for stocks that made China the world’s best-performing market this year. Chairman Wang Dongming, who boosted first-half profit more than fivefold, plans to triple capital at the futures unit to extend his lead over local rivals…

Valuation Premium

Today’s share price gain values Citic Securities at $37 billion, higher than Nomura’s $35 billion. The stock has more than tripled this year. The firm trails only Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch & Co. in market value.

Investors pay a premium for Citic. The stock trades at about 35.8 times estimated full-year profit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Goldman, the world’s most profitable securities firm, has a price-earnings multiple of 8.1.

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Consumer series IV: China Youth Travel

I am resuming this series as I am in Shanghai, and I got first hand look at the consumer spending here. Travel industry grew very fast in recent years due to several factors:

1) The golden week, where people got one week break in Chinese New Year, May 1, and Oct 1;

2) People have more money to spend in general, especially young people want to more DIY travel (freedom tour instead of the good old group tour);

3) More sites have been developed, e.g., Sanya, Lijiang (Yunan), etc.

But the travel industry is highly fragmented in China. The main players include: the scenic sites (Huangshan, e’Mei Shan etc.); the travel agency; the airlines; and the hotels. The profit margin of travel agency business is not high, especially the domestic travel.

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Be careful won’t be wrong

This morning on my way to work, I passed by an ICBC branch, seeing many people on the line, I turned around to take a picture. Then…I got hit by a bicycle. It’s nothing serious, but one won’t feel good about it. My point here is be careful about traffic when in China, the rule here is quite different from the west. It’s my bad that I forgot people ride bikes on the side walk. The other day I saw a bus ignored the red light. I’m not saying the traffic back in St. Louis is perfect, either. I still remember my car got hit by a woman who ignored the red light.

Another thing we need to pay attention is the escalator: those in the malls or metro stations. Especially with the kids wearing the Crocs. While the crocs are comfortable, it also has the anti-slip feature. It tends to stick on the surface. I remember tripped up myself couple times because of this, while walking in the malls. This could be dangerous for the kids while riding escalator, because the escalator itself is a dangerous thing already. I read some injury reports on this Manila newspaper. I personally think Crocs is not to blame, but parents please be careful with your “crocling kids”.

New Oriental class break

Found the following video clip at Tudou, the China’s very own YouTube. The content pushed the envelop a little so don’t play it before your boss, coworker or kids. I haven’t verified whether this is indeed from a class break of New Oriental.

This (in a very small way) reflects the entertainment of China generation Y (young people born after 1980, or 80后).