Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Over Night Policy Rate lowered by 25 basic points

Bank Negara has lowered the over night policy rate (OPR) from 3.5% to 3.25%. It has also lowered the statutory reserve requirement (SRR) from 4% to 3.5%. These actions are designed to inject some liquidity into the banking system. It will make borrowings a little bit cheaper at the expense of depositors. Those who have money in the banks should prepare themselves to get less interest for their deposits.

The banks pay 3 to 3.5% interest per annum presently. This is hardly enough to cover inflation. However, in the days ahead,inflation is likely to soften. This means foods and other necessities will become less expensive. Super markets are urged to bring prices down. Consumers should cut off all unnecessary expenses; waste must be avoided. When demands soften, the prices of goods will surely come down.

Stock markets all over the world have been badly battered by the bears. Even the most astute investors do not have the ability
to maintain their portfolio in the plus territory. In fact many have seen their market value slashed by as much as 40 to 60%. So rest assured that you are not alone in this calamity.

I have recommended that cash should be preserved for a better buying opportunity in my previous posting. However, if you can identify some good stocks to buy, by all means go ahead. We invest in the stock market for capital gains and dividend income. If you can indentify good dividend-yield stocks with sustainable earnings and dividend payouts, then you should put in some of your money to buy these stocks.

In the present scenario, it's best you forget about capital income in the short term. The market is most unlikely to make a V-bottom. At best, we will a round bottom.

At the recent summit meeting of 20 countries, the leaders are of the opinion that it will take 18 months to quell this financial meltdown. How the calculation comes to 18 months is anybody's guess. They have not provided any details. They say that in 18 months this financial meltdown will be overcome. Does this mean that the situation is supposed to become worst before it becomes better? They have not worked out a plan as to what each country should do. Plenty of talk and no well- thought out plan is hardly the stuff for success. I hope they will do better in the next meeting.

In the meantime, you should pay close attention to your charts. The downtrend has not shown any reliable buy signal yet.

Best wishes.