Friday, November 27, 2009

TAIEX : 4th Break of 50DMA

On the news of potential defaults by Dubai, the world markets sunk over Thanksgiving and into black friday. Glancing at the TAIEX, which along with the other Asian markets, has lead the way up in this rally since March, we should note what happens over this next week. Here's a 6 month daily chart of the TAIEX- take note of the times that the 50DMA was breached, and then taken back within the next 3-5 trading days.

If the TAIEX fails to regain the 50 within this next week, I will be looking in greater interest to establish a good short position on the markets. Careful out there! The markets have come a long ways since the lows in March, and a correction should be anticipated.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Update on "Global Views" Numbers

So apparently it looks like there are multiple departments/agencies/whatever you name it, under the "Global Views" name. Today's article in the Taipei Times cites the "Global Views Survey Research Center," giving DPP Chairwoman, Tsai Ing-wen, a higher "trust" % than President Ma. That is, higher than what the previous article I found stated.
Public trust in the DPP also surged to a new three-year high, the survey showed.

The poll, conducted by the Global Views Survey Research Center, put Tsai’s trust index at 46.2 on a scale of 0 to 100, up 0.1 points from last month, while Ma’s dropped 2.6 points from last month to 43.9 this month.

Tsai’s trust index has risen to its highest level since she took over as DPP chairwoman in May last year. Ma became the KMT chairman last month.
That, compared to my previous blog, where Tsai and Ma's "trust" percentage were at 35.4% and 38.6%, respectively. Whatever the case, it numbers are still pretty tight, and not to mention that when the article compares trust of the DPP and to the KMT, the DPP is slightly lagging.
The level of trust in the DPP stood at 39.4 points, just below its record high of 39.5 set in August. The center began conducting the polls in June 2006.

The KMT’s trust index was 41.5 this month, a drop of 0.6 points from last month and just 2.1 higher than that of the DPP.
At this point, and from the general "feel" of the mood in Taiwan, I would say that a tie in these numbers is just as good of news for the DPP as they could hope for. I would think that the usual independents and light-greens and light-blues may be more inclined to side with the DPP in next week's local elections, when you consider the large fallout from Typhoon Morakot, as well as the distancing of many candidates from the "central" KMT administration (including President Ma), in their campaigning.

While the DPP may be gaining some ground in their domestic battle, I just hope that on the international level, with all the commotion about US Beef imports, that the ties between DPP and the US do not take a step back.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Taiwan's Dissastisfaction with Ma, Then What?

This month's polls show President Ma still struggling to regain the confidence of the Taiwanese after the Morakot disaster. From the Global Views Magazine:
The unpopularity of Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou remains significantly high, according to a poll by Global Views. 58.6 per cent of respondents are dissatisfied with Ma’s performance, down one point since September.
From the low of about 23% approval rating right after the Morakot diaster, his approval rating has barely gained 6 points, now hanging at 29.5%, according to the article.

In another article that gives some other numbers, what's interesting to see is that the DPP still has work to do in giving the Taiwanese a different option than the KMT. Note that this piece also says the numbers are from the Global Views magazine, so I'm not sure where the discrepancy in the numbers are coming from (in the approval % of Ma Ying-Jeou).

The telephone survey of 1,004 adults by the Global View monthly magazine found that only 38.6 per cent trust President Ma Ying-jeou, who lags well behind Obama's 46.1-per-cent trust rate.

While 35.4 per cent trust Tsai Ying-wen, chairwoman of Taiwan's pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party, only 17.5 per cent trust Hu.

Here, it has Ma's "trust" at 38.6%, which possibly could be different from the "satisfaction/approval" rating of the earlier article. I think more importantly is the number of Tsai Ing-wen, whose "trust" rating is still lower than Ma's. Rightfully so, Hu Jintao of the Communist Party of China is the lowest, but not nearly as low as I would have thought most Taiwanese would see him.

These numbers should be a reminder for the DPP that they still have a lot of work to do leading into the December local-elections, as well as the 2012 presidential election. Even with the "feeling" in the air that the majority of Taiwanese are upset or unsatisfied with the performance of Ma and his administration, the polls show that it might not necessarily translate into actual numbers in the elections.

Whether it's a problem of complacency, political bribery, political oppression, or something else, the next movement in the political theater of Taiwan must and can really only be initiated and sustained by the younger generation of Taiwanese. Our fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers have done their part, and with each passing of the elder, there needs to be one of us who steps up to take their place.

While I may have an opinion on gay marriage that certainly isn't "popular" these days, and not to take anything away from the homosexual communities' efforts to attain similar rights as heterosexuals, there is a deep pain and inability to understand why the recent march for gay pride/marriage in Taiwan can bring us (the "Gen Y") out in droves, along with the support of celebrities, while the most basic human rights and safeguarding those rights via democracy, garners little excitement among us.

Is it because we are taking the rights that our parents and grandparents secured for us, for granted? Is it because we are too caught up with ourselves and what our selfish wants are, that we can't think for anyone else other than ourselves? Is it because we are in the now, and our complacency leads us to be blinded from the future consequences that being apathetic will do to us, to Taiwanese, to Taiwan? How can we be so proud of being Taiwanese, and yet don't give a damn about the problems that Ma Ying-Jeou is bringing upon Taiwan.

It is a problem that has crossed my mind many times over and over, and something that I hope my blogging helps to mend, especially to those of my generation. Even if it's just one person that gets a glimpse of what I mean, at least I can say I did my part. Can you?

P.S.: I know my blogging is intermittent and definitely not consistent, but a good way to keep up with me if you have a blogger account (you can use your GMail account to sign-in), is to click on "Follow" at the top of the page, and you can set your settings to get e-mail updates. If you don't have a blogger/blogspot account, you can subscribe to my posts via the "E-mail Subscription" box on the top right, below my banner. I say this because I know a lot of you (especially my friends) have expressed positive remarks about my blog and I feel like I'm doing a disservice to you guys by not blogging regularly. And from that, it inadvertently causes you to not check back regularly. So, one way to help alleviate this is to get a subscription!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Applying for Jobs in Taiwan, Province of China?

For whatever it's worth, many company websites list Taiwan as a Province of China, if you poke around in the job application area of their websites. I believe Qualcomm and Verizon are just a couple that do so, and here is what NSA shows when you select TWN during the process of filling out the forms online:

It probably wasn't intended, and from my many job applications, it seems like a similar type of application system is used by each company/entity. So, it may very well be that these companies are sort of just "borrowing" the system to use for their job application process. Nevertheless, this is the type of ignorance than Taiwanese must continue to fight against and make known. What may be harmless to those that know, may give the wrong information to those who don't- and in turn spread these lies.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Inquiries Of Insider Trading: Taiwan & US

Anyone who has been watching stocks over the past year surely must have noticed all the blatant insider trading going on during the day/hours leading up to an announcement. What has been a large problem that continues to be unchecked by the SEC in the US, looks to be plaguing the Taiwan Stock Exchange as well.

The Taipei Times reports of possible insider trading in the Chimei-Innolux merger deal. Things such as this are a huge tip-off that someone was "tipped-off" about the deal:
Two days before the merger was announced, Chi Mei trading volume spiked to 142 million shares on Thursday and 184 million shares on Friday, four times and five times higher than its averaged daily turnover of 34.7 million shares in the first eight trading days of the month respectively, information on TWSE’s Web site showed.
Similarly, in the recently announced buyout of 3COM buy HPQ, the day of the announcement had 3COM (COMS) trading on heavy volume of around 22 million shares, with historical average volume at just around 9 million. Furthermore, there was heavy trading in the options on 3COM where a large lot of calls were bought on the front month options. Keep in mind that this was only about 7 trading says until November OPEX. As most traders know, buying front month options is a disaster in the making, unless you are expecting a large move that the market is not expecting. The time decay in the options in the last 2 weeks will kill your potential for a profitable trade if the direction and movement are not what you fully expect. The WSJ has a good wrap on this here:

Yesterday, options traders scooped up 8,000 near-term “call” options that allow them to buy stock in 3Com at fixed prices. Specifically, they bought November options that allow them to buy the stock for $5 a share, below the $7.90 a share that H-P offered for 3Com. Overall, 22 million 3Com shares changed hands on Wednesday, compared to its 52 week average of about $5 million, according to Bloomberg.

“Somebody knew something was coming,” said Stefen Choy, founder of Livevol, a San Francisco provider of options-market data and analytics, told Bloomberg. “It looks like very unusual call buying. I see this very frequently when there’s a takeover.”

The fact the same company involved in the Galleon case is again being mentioned for unusual trading activity shows how pervasive and persistent insider trading may be. It also shows the endless battled the Securities & Exchange Commission faces in trying to stamp this out. (The SEC, 3Com and H-P have all declined comment on the matter).

As much as I'd like to believe that the bad guys will always get caught, it seems like the SEC is simply looking the other way.

Monday, November 9, 2009

US Census 2010: Taiwanese-Americans

A reminder to all you Taiwanese-Americans that the 2010 US Census is coming up. Not only a great chance to get a high-paying part-time job (if you're still looking by then), but also a good chance to make the Taiwanese population in the states count.

These are official numbers that will be used in things such as federal funding allocation towards communities and social programs, as well as determining the number of representatives that each state gets to the House of Representatives, etc. I assume these numbers may also be used by politicians to determine how much influence a specific demographic (Taiwanese-Americans?) may have on a politician's chance of (put bluntly) being elected (if they support that group of people's concerns, etc.).

More information can be found below:

and a Facebook group to join, to help spread the word:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Continued 'Bull' on TAIEX

“Taiwan is a buy story as the economic and commercial assumptions from cross-strait ties are positive for the market,” he said in a phone interview today. “Asian markets will rely on company earnings beating expectations in 2010 as good year-on-year economic data in the first half of 2010 is mainly discounted.”
This above quote from this bullish article on the TAIEX. The author claims that increased cross-strait agreements and potential upcoming ECFA and MOUs and whatever other agreements they come up with, will strengthen the position of Taiwan equities.

Consider these few points, and take from this what you will.

The article mentions Ma Ying-jeou took office in May 2008 (specifically the 20th of May), and whos' platform consisted of "easing curbs on investments and increasing transportation links with China." May 20, 2008 marks the high over the past 2 years on the TAIEX. Despite all the "fanfare" over increased links and cross-strait agreements, the TAIEX has never seen those prices since.

What does this say? Well, it goes along with the saying, "Buy on rumor, sell on the news." Buy on rumor that Ma is likely to win, sell when he actually does. If you did? You made out like a bandit.

Furthermore, it sort of shows that fundamentals and the news that supposedly drives stocks, doesn't really drive price. If so, why did TAIEX trade down after news of the oncoming "Chinese stimulus" into the Taiwan economy? If so, why are global markets trading up since March, despite worsening economic numbers (U.S. "official" unemployed now over 10%!).

I will continue to watch the TAIEX carefully, as it may well turn out to be another "buy the rumor, sell the news" opportunity. Of course, higher prices are definitely possible, but my point here is to not trust these so-called "experts" and "analysts" at face value. How many can you recall, actually came out and downgraded stocks and called for the crash of 2008?
"God works in weird ways, markets work in twisted ways, to accomplish the most obvious in the most unobvious ways."

Monday, November 2, 2009

More On Happy Farmers, Yet Again... And Taxes!

As if Taiwanese can't get enough of Happy Farm and their obsession over US Beef, here's an interesting article citing the author's own obsession over Happy Farm, and for many others in Asia (specifically Taiwan).

The author, Victor Cheung, links to a picture off of a website called MMdays, showing a real-life "Happy Farm" on Yangmingshan. Hats off to whoever got that farm created up there, as it'll likely be a nice tourist spot for the 80% of Happy Farmers who are Taiwanese.

Anyways, another article where the author admits his own happiness with playing Happy Farm, here.

In other news, I came across this story on a website I frequent, and I found it rather interesting in putting America's tax situation into something more easily understood. Take it for what it's worth:

From Keith Franklin:

I was having lunch with one of my favorite friends
last week - a very liberal college professor - and the
conversation turned to the government's recent round of tax cuts.

"I'm opposed to those tax cuts," the Professor
declared, "because they benefit the rich.
The rich get much more money back than ordinary
taxpayers like you and me and that's not fair."

"But the rich pay more in the first place," I
argued, "so it stands to reason they'd get more money back."

I could tell that my friend was unimpressed by this
meager argument.

So I said to him, let's put tax cuts in terms
everyone can understand:
Suppose that every day 10 men go to a restaurant
for dinner.
The bill for all ten comes to $100.

If it was paid the way we pay our taxes,
The first four men paid nothing;
The fifth paid $1;
The sixth paid $3;
The seventh $7;
The eighth $12;
The ninth $18.
The tenth man (the richest) paid $59.

The 10 men ate dinner in the restaurant every day
and seemed quite happy with the arrangement
until the owner threw them a curve.

Since you are all such good customers, he said, I'm
going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20.

Now, dinner for the 10 only costs $80. The first
four are unaffected. They still eat for free.
Can you figure out how to divide up the $20 savings
among the remaining six so that everyone gets his
fair share?

The men realize that $20 divided by 6 is $3.33, but
if they subtract that from everybody's share,
then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up
being paid to eat their meal.

The restaurant owner suggested that it would be
fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the
same percentage, being sure to give each a break, and
he proceeded to work out the amounts each should

And so now:
Along with the first four, the fifth man
paid nothing,
The sixth pitched in $2,
The seventh paid $5,
The eighth paid $9,
The ninth paid $12,
Leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52
instead of $59.

Outside the restaurant, the men began to compare
their savings,
"I only got a dollar out of the $20," complained
the sixth man, pointing to the tenth, "and he got $7!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I
only saved a dollar,too.
It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!"

"That's true," shouted the seventh man. "Why should
he get $7 back when I got only $2?
The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men. "We
didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor."

Then, the nine men surrounded the tenth man (the
richest one, paying the most) and beat him up.

The next night the richest man didn't show up for
dinner, so now the nine men sat down and ate without him.
But when it came time to pay the bill,
they discovered something very important. They
were $52 short!

And now people and college professors, this is
how America's tax system works.
The people who pay the highest taxes get
the most benefit from a tax reduction.
Tax them too much, attack them for
being wealthy, and they just may
not show up at the table any more.

My Reply To Congressman Adam Smith

See here, for Congressman Adam Smith's original letter regarding HCR18.

Congressman Adam Smith,

Thank you for your response and appreciate your concern for Taiwan as well. I would just like to point out a few things regarding the recent "warming" of ties between China and Taiwan. While on the surface, it may seem that indeed relations are warming, the fact remains that China continues to hold Taiwan hostage with 1500+ missiles aimed at Taiwan. Along with these missiles are measures by China to continue to isolate Taiwan and China from foreign interference (specifically the US), with their military advancements far exceeding the advancements made in regards to the "peace" between China and Taiwan. Because of this, I believe that Taiwan continues to have the necessity for defensive arms sales and weapons to act as a deterrent for any forcible strike that China may undertake (as it has continued to say it will, if Taiwan pursues formal independence). As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, I am sure you are well aware of these advancements, and hope you take these into consideration when considering Taiwan's request for F-16s.

Furthermore, I would like to point out that what I hope we all strive for in Taiwan's future is the self-determination of the people of Taiwan. As my parents have emigrated from from Taiwan to the US, and I see myself as a Taiwanese-American, I believe it is part of my duty to continue to help promote the freedoms that my parents and I enjoy in the United States, for those in Taiwan as well. China's threat to take Taiwan by force if the people of Taiwan decide they want to keep their democracy, human rights, sovereignty, self-determination, and all these values that Americans cherish, is a threat that cannot and should not stand in our world today.

Lastly, while you mention that the KMT and President Ma were overwhelming victors in the elections last year, I think it is unfair to say that because of that, Taiwan as a whole supports whatever President Ma is doing. Polls conducted by both sides in Taiwan continue to show consistently that less than 10% of Taiwanese would like to unify with China, now, or ever. Here is a recent survey by the Global Views Magazine that points to the fact that the % of those favoring independence has actually increased under the KMT/President Ma administration, despite their platform being support for eventual unification between the two (the survey results are in Chinese, but I hope someone in your office can translate; also a blog-post from "Taiwan Matters" that helps with English translation on the survey). Continuing with this, a poll conducted earlier this year after Ma mishandled the Typhoon Morakot crisis, showed that support for Ma's presidency dropped as low as 16%, and currently sits around 25-30%. As you can see, while Taiwanese may have voted President Ma to office, it does not mean that Taiwanese have continued to voice support for Ma's policies. My point here is that the situation in Taiwan is much more dire than it seems, as the KMT have regained control of the government of Taiwan, human rights and symbols of democracy have continued to deteriorate under the watch of President Ma. Things such as the handling of the ex-president Chen's case that seem like another step in what seems like a political witch-hunt, as well as international bodies citing a drop in Taiwan's freedom of press, all shout of old habits that never die, a sign that the KMT's authoritarian past is not quite fully in the past yet.

While there is no simple solution to these problems, I believe that the United States plays an integral role in the future of Taiwan, not only because of the TRA, but because Taiwan serves as a beacon of democracy to the rest of region in Asia. I hope that you can support both HCR18 as well as HCR200, which expresses Congress' support for the self-determination of the people of Taiwan. I look forward to your support on this issue.