The Cambodian Securities Exchange (CSX) officially awarded each of the two winners of its My First Stock trading competition an 8,000,000 riel ($2,000) cash prize yesterday.
The contest challenged first-time and existing investors to generate the highest return on a minimum $1,000 investment in stocks listed on the CSX during a 40-day period that ran from November 21 to January 16.
The two winners first-time investor Lim Dina and existing investor Hong Bunrith increased their portfolio value a staggering 149 percent and 88 percent, respectively, in just 40 days. The speed and size of their returns shattered perceptions that Cambodia’s stock exchange, which launched in 2011 and has four listed companies, was a languid market.
Speaking on the sidelines of the daylong CSX event at Aeon Mall in Phnom Penh, Dina said he posted a 149 percent return on investment by placing all of the required 4,000,000 riel ($1,000) need to join the competition into garment manufacturer Grand Twins International (GTI).
“My strategy was first to look at the stocks and what type of trading they have recently had,” he said. “While 40 days is not a long time to trade, I still looked for a company whose stock price had fallen below its initial public offer price because it is easy to quickly increase.”
During the competition, GTI’s share price doubled from an early December low of 2,300 riel to 5,200 riel in mid-January. Dina said while the CSX only allows trading for 3.5 hours a day, it was easy to check the market in the morning while at work.
“The key to making a profit on the stock market is to investigate companies, invest low and sell high, and buy and sell quickly to get fast returns,” he said.
Hong Bunrith, an existing investor, who generated an 88 percent return, also attributed his success to GTI’s bullish performance. However, he split his investment for the competition between GTI and Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, the capital’s water utility, which trades as PWSA.
PWSA’s share price fluctuated within a band of 120 riel during the competition period.
“If you are going to succeed in the market, you need to clearly understand the company you are investing in and monitor its previous quarterly performance,” he said.
Hor Simeth, chief financial officer of Acleda Securities Plc., said the trading competition was a good way to spark new investor interest in the CSX.
“Cambodians have the mindset that the stock market is risky – like gambling,” he said. “But it is not, because when you buy a stock you have ownership and can wait to sell it at the right time.”
Simeth said that he hoped that stock trading competitions would continue to educate new potential local investors. And with CSX promising to pay back any trader losses incurred during the contest up to $100, the risks to participating investors was minimal.
“For the competition, the CSX pays you back if you have any losses,” he said.
“This makes it risk-free to join.”