What We Think About The Wuhan Virus And The Stock Counters We Are Looking At

It seems like the talk of the town is the Wuhan virus. Our social media news feed is full of updates of the virus, be it an increase of new local cases in Singapore, or people overseas succumbing to the virus. 

We came across a great video explaining the virus and we highly recommend everyone spending 5 minutes to understand more about how the virus work and how worried we should be.

How Worried Are You?

To be honest, both Mrs Budget and myself we are not too concerned about the virus yet.

While there seemed to be new cases every other day in Singapore, most of them are imported cases or the result of interactions with imported case.

The virus seems to have a lot mortality rate and those who have passed on from the virus are mostly the more senior patients with lower immune system. 

We also have full faith in the Singapore government to control the spread of the virus and we trust that they will be transparent with Singaporeans and share any necessary updates with us.

From my understanding, the Singapore government has been preparing for a case like this since SARS, and have a playbook on how to handle a health care emergency like this now that it has happened. So the best thing we can do now is stay calm and let the government do their thing. Besides, we are lawful tax paying citizens 🙂

How Bad Do We Think It Will Be

The 4 new recent cases are a result of an interaction with a Chinese tour group. As the Chinese tour group linked to the local transmissions had visited at least six places in Singapore, we expect the number of cases to spike in the next few days.

As contact tracing had inevitably started by the government, hopefully the at risk individuals have been identified and have been quarantined. We probably expect the confirmed case to hit 50 to 100 before plateauing off.

Source: Channelnewsasia

In the grander scheme of things, 100 confirmed cases in Singapore only represent 0.002% of the 5 million people in Singapore – so we should be ok.

Indonesia Is A Wild Card

That said, the media rightfully pointed out something that ought to be an area of concern.

Outside of China in the midst of the global health emergency, Indonesia, which has a population of over 264 million people, has yet to announce any case of the virus.

Seems a bit weird if you ask us. If one small tour group from China can result in local transmission in Singapore, surely Indonesia which has more inbound tourist from China should have at least seen some local transmission.

What is scary to think is that, the government there might not even be aware that the virus might have been in the country already and there are already widespread transmission which goes undetected due to the lack of proper resource. After all, Indonesia is a huge country.

Are We Wearing Mask

For now, Mrs Budget and myself are still not wearing masks although we have some stocked up at home.

However, if we do visit high risk areas such as a crowded event, or visiting the local polyclinics, we will be wearing them. During our day to day commute or when we visit our neighbourhood, we are not wearing them.

The government also mentioned that there is actually no need for us to wear mask if we are feeling healthy, and to only wear them if we are sick. Practicing a good personal hygiene is equally if not more important than wearing a mask.

Stock Counters We Are Looking At

Of course, the stock market has been taking a beating since the virus spread. Our stock portfolio went down as much as 3% at one point but has since recovered a bit. If the market continues to fall further, there are some stocks that we are eyeing at:

  1. Bookings.com – we have been looking at this for a while now and recently the price went down to the USD1800+ range. If it falls to below USD1700 range, we will be initiating a position.
  2. MTR Hong Kong – we have been following this too thanks to our friends at Fifth Person – great business to own (Hong Kong’s MRT) but it has been facing a stock selldown due to the double whammy of the Hong Kong protest and the virus now. If it falls below HKD43, we will be initiating a position.

Other than that, we are not really eyeing any other stock counters as we have recently been looking at investing through roboadvisors.

None-retail or hospitality REITs are also very resilient and prices are sky high now, hence we probably won’t be buying any of them as we are quite happy with our current portfolio now.

Some other stocks nearing their 52 week lows that are worth looking into are probably Jumbo, SATS, Comfort Delgro, Breadtalk, and more but nothing really stood out to us as it is hard to see short to mid term price catalyst or high long term potential.

We will continue to accumulate our cash and see if there are any further future opportunities. 

In the meantime, stay safe everyone and let’s hope the wuhan virus will get better soon!

Which stock counters are you looking at?

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