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Quick Thought Of The Week: Glassmaker

Brian-Hillegas-Flickr

It is hard to know who is calling the shots at the White House.

Is it the president? Is it the Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross? Is it the White House advisor, Peter Navarro? Is it the Director of the Economic Council, Larry Kudlow? Or is it the Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin.

Your guess is as good as everyone else’s, including the people in Beijing. No wonder they are not interested in trade talks. What a mess.

However, some are optimistic that the two largest economies in the world will somehow arrive at a compromise. Some think that it is unlikely that they will ever be able to resolve their differences, though.

As for me, I neither think of a glass being half full or half empty. Instead, I only ask who is maker of the glass? Are they making money? And can I buy shares in the glassmaker, if it is profitable?

In times of stress such as those created by the Sino-US trade war, there are opportunities to invest in “glassmakers”.

Many countries in the region that include the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand could benefit from the trade dispute….

…. They were going to benefit anyway, as China shifted the emphasis of its economic growth from manufacturing to consumerism.

Admittedly, China would have liked more time to move its reliance on manufacturing and exports. That would have caused less disruption for its 1.3 billion people.

But they don’t have the luxury of time, anymore. They need to move fast to maintain economic and social stability.

That means we need to get on our skates, too. It is pointless sitting on our hands, waiting for a resolution to the trade dispute. That could take longer than I am prepared to wait.

Meanwhile, the sudden bouts of jitters in the market could present us with opportunities.

Remember the words of Albert Einstein: Not everything that can be counted, counts.

Focus on the things that matter.

Return on equity, matters. Retention ratios, matter. Pricing power matters. Tweets don’t matter. The shenanigans in the White House do not matter.

A version of this article first appeared in Stock Advisor Singapore and Stock Advisor Gold.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore Director David Kuo doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.