Phone maker's fortunes not quite up to par for webb What the market giveth, the market taketh away. David Webb was all over the business pages earlier this month when Sino Golf, which he made his annual Christmas pick, rose 37 per cent in a single day on the strength of the corporate governance buff's recommendation. Yesterday, though, Suncorp, which is a part of his portfolio, fell 41 per cent to 47.5 HK cents. The proximate cause of the bust was the cordless phone maker's announcement that it plans to raise HK$61.5 million through a one-for-two rights issue at 30 HK cents per share. The firm made a loss of HK$63 million in the first half. Mr Webb (left) disclosed his 5 per cent Suncorp holding in September 2004 when it traded at around HK$1.65. He raised his stake to 7 per cent in July last year at nearly HK$2 before selling down to 6 per cent at HK$1.64. By August 18 this year his holding had fallen to 4.35 per cent. It is not clear how much he retains of Suncorp whose shares are down nearly 70 per cent this year. 'Well, at least Suncorp was never one of my Christmas picks,' said Mr Webb who has a HK$300 million local stock portfolio. 'All investment carries the risk of future events beyond one's control. To outperform the market, you only have to be right more than 50 per cent of the time. So as long as you take into account all available information before buying or selling a stock, you should not regret any investment decision.' Sai wan ho sage spouts basics Another great stock-picker, Henderson Land chairman Lee Shau-kee, sits on HK$40 billion of paper profits in his H-share portfolio. Yesterday the Warren Buffett of Sai Wan Ho shared with reporters his secrets of stock picking after his companies' annual general meetings. 'As there is a Basic Law in Hong Kong, so there is a basic law for investing in the stock market,' said Mr Lee. Pick a country with good prospects, he said, pointing out that fast-growing China is probably a better idea than the debt-laden United States. Among the sectors he likes are banking, insurance and energy. He is putting his money where his mouth is, of course. Fringe benefits make markets How does the Hong Kong stock exchange stack up against its London counterpart? Ask a man with an impossible title - Arken Arystanov, chairman of the Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan for Regulating the Regional Financial Centre of Almaty. 'In London, you don't receive the service you want. I think HK can provide high quality standards. Also, with HK you have Macau...' Mr Arystanov also weighed in on the question of why Russians prefer London as a place to do business. 'Because there is Harrods,' he said. 'Also, they like their children to study there. Some 200,000 Russian families have moved to London.' Good, bad, ugly from karrie It's rare to find Hong Kong companies that like to talk about their setbacks. Karrie International, a small-cap that has won awards for its financial disclosure, goes the extra mile to show that it is learning from its mistakes. After announcing a 16 per cent drop in interim earnings - its first decline in about three years - the company's report goes on to list five reversals of fortune that it experienced in the past decade under the headline: 'Setbacks are inevitable steps in the path of corporate progress.' These included a profit hit in the Asian crisis in 1998 when nearly all banks called in its loans, the bursting of the internet bubble and Sars. In the area of things under its control, it saw five directors light off in search of greener pastures. There were downs, yes, but ups too, so Karrie also listed some of its achievements over the same period. You've gotta love this company for its honesty.