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“You Have To Take The Emotion Out Of Investing” – Are You Considering Buying In?

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12 minute read

Are you? You may not be the only one. We have seen stock markets like the Toronto Stock Exchange take major hits over the past two months due to the effects of Covid-19 taking its toll on almost every industry. With some recent rises in markets continuing to build investor confidence, we are still left in the unknown for why this is happening. Living through a historically unprecedented time uncovers a long list of questions and concerns for our livelihood as individuals, quality of life for the future, and how best to navigate through this time. I’m sure during the Irish potato famine in 1845-1849, there were many people asking – what’s going on with all the potatoes? 

In a survey undertaken by the group “500 Startups” based in Silicon Valley, surveyed a group of investors to report on how they have been affected by the pandemic. The investor group consisted of venture capitalists, angel investors, corporate venture investors, and family office investors. The report showed 83% having their investment activity and plans be affected by Covid-19. As seen in the chart below, 62.6% of the group feel that startups and early-stage investors will be feeling the effects of the pandemic for 1-2 years. Their advice to startups during this time is to simply decrease costs and to increase their runway for how long they can stay in business. 

Data taken from 500 Startups report on The Impact of COVID-19 on the Early-Stage Investment Climate

 

We spoke with Kevin Skinner, an investment advisor for Servus Wealth Strategies, who gave us some insight and knowledge pertaining to open concerns for novice investors who may be seeking to enter the market or simply are in the dark for what to with their holdings. Kevin has been working in the financial services industry for over a decade and is a top investment advisor in their St. Abert branch. 

Considering what we have seen so far in stock markets, Is it a good time for new long term investors to buy now or continue to wait?

Striving away from the idea that fortune-tellers exist within trading, which is not true, a good education on markets is always a good pre-market investment of your own time. In regards to those looking to be a long term investor, he mentions:

“If you’re a long term investor the adage is that it’s always the best time…so question number one has to be, can you afford to invest the money right now…the second question is, what else can you do with this money. If you have $10,000 in the bank and $10,000 in credit card debt, always better to pay off the debt than you are investing that money.”

We want our money working for us right? Having a solid grasp of how your money is working for you may allow you to make a better-educated investment without adding any financial risk. The idea that there are smoke signals in the market to tell you it is the right time to invest, he mentions:

“If it was that easy, I would be sitting on my private island somewhere enjoying the world…It really is about investing correctly and investing to your plan. If your plan is to have the money for the long term, You need to have an understanding of your risks and your comfort.”

What if I have money to invest right now, should I wait for the bottom line? 

Kevin advised the dollar cost average tool to take the emotion out of investing. With so much volatility in the market, we revisit the concept that fortune-tellers exist to tell other investors when to buy; there is no way to fully identify the risks. To ensure you’re getting good value for your money, Kevin offers an example of the dollar cost average approach:

“Take your pool of money, call it $12,000. You invest $1,000 a month in a particular fund. You catch the market as it wobbles, so you don’t necessarily buy it all at the bottom, you’re definitely not buying it all at the top. You’re averaging your cost date and to get a good value for what you’re buying.”

Do you have an opinion on panic selling at a loss? 

Straight out of the gate, Kevin is a firm believer that anything that involves the word “panic” is never a good thing. Investopedia’s definition of panic selling refers to the sudden, wide-scale selling of a security or securities by a large number of investors, causing a sharp decline in price. We have seen this as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Panic selling can be directly related to having an emotional connection to your investment, but to ensure the doom and gloom doesn’t get the better of you, having an objective view allows you to stay logical and stick to your plan. Kevin mentions: 

“you have to do whatever you can to pull that emotion back out. Panic selling immediately is focused on the emotional side of it. You have to remove the emotion from investing.”

Not as easy as it sounds right? We are going through an emotionally ramped up time during this pandemic, not to mention dealing with all the other unknown realities of how our economy will bounce back or when the non-essential business will be reopened. Kevin recommends choosing places to move your investments to take the panic out. 

“You don’t call a realtor when your house is on fire. That’s where we’re at in the market right now, we know the house is on fire. We don’t know how long it’s going to last, how bad it’s going to be, or what it’s going to look like when it’s put out.”

 

Can you offer any comment on the fear of more lows, or what are the key indicators that we should be aware of?

We have seen stocks rise over the past week due to economic stimulus measures and the actions being taken to gradually reopen global economies. Experienced investors are forward-thinking individuals, they take into consideration the risk-reward for having objective optimism in certain industries. Kevin encourages to take the view that the rises we have seen are temporary for now, he mentions:

“Know that there’s another drop coming. Know that we don’t know how bad it’s going to be. And we don’t know how long the recovery is going to take. which is why we’re saying it’s going to be 2021 at least before the flooding of the market recovers”

We are expecting a long and slow road to recovery, but finding the bottom line can be almost impossible. Ask yourself, what happens to market optimism if a vaccine is made available tomorrow? Does that mean the market will become flooded with investors? It is impossible to know; by choosing a trusted investment advisor they can assist with taking the emotion out of your investments, and you can lean on their knowledge of markets to offer that objective optimism. For individual investors, it is useful to be aware of the activity in that sector to aid in growing your confidence, or the counter, it may give you key information to avoid a bad buy right now.

How have you been navigating through this time?

Kevin is one of many continuing to work from home during this period of self-isolation. With any new environment carries challenges. He is thankful for Servus Credit Union for the support he has received and the efforts put forward by the whole team. He has been spending some time in the welcomed sunshine playing sports with his 12-year-old son in his driveway.

What has Servus Credit Union been proactively doing to support its customers right now? 

Servus Credit Union released their response to COVID-19, issuing kind words to their members that they are here for them during this time. Their CEO, Garth Warner also released a personal letter to all of their members speaking on behalf of the team doing everything they can do to support their members. Kevin mentions:

“Our members are truly members, they’re all owners. Everyone who deals with the credit union holds a piece of the credit union. Right now we’re trying to keep our whole business, our owners, and our members afloat…so whatever we do, is what’s best for us as an organization which means it’s also what’s best for our members”

What are you personally looking forward to after this period of self-isolation?

I coach sports. Of course every kid’s sport is canceled right now. We lost the end of our sports seasons for the winter, we’re going to miss the beginning of our sports season for the spring. And that’s what I miss most is getting outside with the kids and just having fun.”

If you would like to learn more about Servus Credit Union, Servus Wealth Strategies or Kevin Skinner, visit their website or social links below.

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Share debacle a rare setback for Indian tycoon Adani

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By Krutika Pathi in New Delhi

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian billionaire Gautam Adani grinned as he posed this week for photos with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu after acquiring one of the country’s main ports, in Haifa.

“I promise you that in the years to come, we will transform the skyline we see around us,” said Adani, his manner upbeat even as his business empire was losing billions. Investors have been dumping Adani shares for more than a week after U.S. short-selling firm Hindenburg Research put out a report alleging his businesses have engaged in fraud and stock price manipulation. The Adani group has denied this.

Before the debacle, Adani, 60, was Asia’s richest man and the third wealthiest in the world, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Not anymore.

The massive losses are a rare setback for the coal mining tycoon from western India’s Gujarat state and raise questions about what lies ahead.

Expansion has been at the heart of Adani’s success story. The son of a middle-class family in the Gujarat capital, Ahmedabad, he quit college to become a diamond trader in the country’s financial capital, Mumbai. He returned home to join his brother in importing plastics before establishing Adani Enterprises in the 1980s, trading in everything from shoes to buckets.

Adani shifted to investing in ports, construction and coal mining as India opened up its economy in the 1990s. A new middle class emerged and the ambitious businessman placed bets on providing energy to serve them.

Adani’s first big project, Mundra Port, is now India’s largest commercial port and he is the country’s biggest private port operator. Within a decade, he also became India’s largest developer and operator of coal mines.

Today, Adani companies also operate airports in major cities, build roads, generate electricity, manufacture defense equipment, develop agricultural drones, sell cooking oil and run a media outlet. He has his eyes set on becoming the world’s largest renewable energy player by 2030.

Citing market volatility, late Wednesday his flagship Adani Enterprises scrapped a $2.5 billion share offering that, despite the bloodletting in the group’s shares and a 28% plunge that day in its own share price, had been oversubscribed.

In a video address Thursday, Adani said the share offering was canceled to “insulate investors from potential losses.”

“For me, the interest of my investors is paramount and everything else is secondary,” he said.

The share offering was seen as a test of investor confidence in the self-made industrialist, whose ascent has been celebrated as a symbol of India’s economic ambitions. The Adani Group said in a statement that canceling the offering would not “have any impact on our existing operations and future plans.”

The Adani Group said its balance sheet was “very healthy” and its history of servicing debt was “impeccable.”

Still, Brian Freitas, a New Zealand-based analyst with Periscope Analytics who has researched the Adani Group, said the collapse in share prices for India’s second-largest conglomerate may hinder its future plans for expansion.

“It’s going to be difficult for them to raise new money,” he said.

Adani shares are still losing value. Shares in Adani Enterprises tumbled 27% Thursday, while stock in six other Adani companies fell 5%-10%.

The tycoon, who favors a plain white shirt and dark trousers over fancy dress and is said to be affable and quiet spoken, slid from being the world’s third richest man to the 13th as his fortune sank to $72 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index. Prior to the Hindenburg report, his net worth was about $120 billion.

More vitally, the company is now without the funds it had hoped to raise in this week’s offering. Companies often launch such share offerings to finance growth while reducing debt.

“Thanks to the short-seller, Adani’s plans will get slowed down significantly,” said R.N. Bhaskar, a journalist who wrote a biography on Adani.

Analysts say that rapid expansion has largely been fueled by borrowing. The group’s debt stands at $30 billion, out of which $9 billion is from Indian banks, the group’s chief financial officer said recently.

After the stock rout of the past week, lenders may deem his group high risk and toughen their criteria for borrowing, like demanding higher interest rates or more collateral, said Freitas.

“Equity investors are going to be wary because the stock isn’t doing well — if they can’t raise equity, they will have to go to the debt market,” he added. “Given the situation, foreign lenders will think twice before lending any new money to Adani.”

Despite Adani’s longstanding ties with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a fellow Gujarati, and other powerful politicians, the government has so far remained silent on his recent troubles even as pressure from the political opposition for an investigation into Adani’s situation grows.

In recent years, Adani has pumped money into sectors like agriculture, defense and renewable energy — all seen as high priorities for the Indian government.

Like Adani’s commitment to the port in Israel’s Haifa, many of the group’s overseas infrastructure projects, in countries such as Sri Lanka and Tanzania, have served as an Indian counterweight to rival China’s holdings.

The Haifa deal was a coup for India, located close to another port managed by the Shanghai International Port Group.

“India is working with great fervor with Israel on defense and technology, and Adani now has a port there. You think the Indian government can sniff at that?” said Bhaskar. “The thing is, you can’t wish away Adani — because he is indispensable at this point.”

He expects Adani to remain undaunted.

“The more challenging a situation gets, the more defiant and creative he becomes to overcome it,” Bhaskar said.

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Senate passes Liberals’ controversial online streaming act with a dozen amendments

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By Mickey Djuric in Ottawa

Big tech companies that offer online streaming services could soon be required to contribute to Canadian content as a controversial Liberal bill gets one step closer to becoming law.

The Senate has passed the online streaming act known as Bill C-11 with a dozen amendments following a lengthy study by senators.

The bill would update Canada’s broadcasting rules to reflect online streaming giants such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify, and require them to contribute to Canadian content and make it accessible to users in Canada — or face steep penalties.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says he hopes the House of Commons will pass the bill next week after it reviews the Senate’s changes.

Senators made amendments intended to protect user-generated content and highlight the promotion of Indigenous languages and Black content creators.

They also included a change that would prohibit CBC from producing sponsored content, and another that would require companies to verify users’ ages before they access sexually-explicit material.

Rodriguez said Thursday that the Liberal government would not accept all of the Senate’s recommendations, but he didn’t say which ones he disagrees with.

“We’ll see when the bill comes back. There are amendments that have zero impact on the bill. And others that do, and those, we will not accept them,” the minister said Thursday during a Canadian Media Producers Association panel.

The Senate also removed a clause in the bill that Sen. Paula Simons described as giving “extraordinary new powers to the government to make political decisions about things.”

Ian Scott, the former chair of Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, had told a Senate committee that some provisions in the bill did move the balance point “slightly closer to lessening the independence” of the regulator — though he insisted that it would remain independent.

The CRTC, now under the leadership of Vicky Eatrides, will be tasked with enforcing the bill’s provisions.

The Senate passed the bill on the anniversary of its introduction in the House of Commons.

Between the House of Commons and Senate, there have been approximately 218 witnesses, 43 meetings, 119 briefs and 73 proposed amendments, said Rodriguez.

“It’s the longest bill,” he said.

The proposed law has come under intense scrutiny amid accusations from companies and critics who said it left too much room for government control over user-generated content and social-media algorithms.

Rodriguez said tech giants can get creative with ways they promote Canadian content, such as with billboards, advertising or, if they so choose, tweaks to their algorithms.

The bill has also caught the attention of the United States. Its embassy in Ottawa recently said that it is holding consultations with U.S. companies that it is concerned could face discrimination if the bill passes.

Last week, two U.S. senators called for a trade crackdown on Canada over Bill C-11, saying that the prospective law flouts trade agreements.

“I’m not worried, because we think it complies with trade obligations,” Rodriguez said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2023.

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