Fund Manager’s Diary

Sally Macdonald is the manager of the Melchior Pan Asian Opportunities Fund. Her diary runs from July 5-11.

Thursday Attend a small China conference, with four companies and a strategist. The event is well organised and allows time for reflection and I come away with one strong stock idea, although not one of the companies presenting. The outlook for China still looks fantastic and I remain SALLY MACDONALDbullish on the whole Asian region for the rest of this year and next.

Friday Half day today, as this afternoon I must drive to Cheltenham for my daughter’s end of term concert. So work is hectic, trying to fit too much into the morning. The concert in the evening was great, though and the musicians were of professional quality.

Saturday As this is the first speech day we have attended at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, it is with some trepidation (anticipating long hours on hard chairs) that we walk up to school. We start with a service replete with robust hymns and sentiments pitched perfectly to reflect both end of term joy and leavers’ sorrow. A short break for coffee and then on to the main event.

Having expected to endure hours of heroic battles for the house cup, what we have is entirely different from the speech days of my youth: a witty and inspirational speech, well illustrated with vignettes from the girls, given by Vicky Tuck, the school principal. Suitably stirred, we emerge into the sunshine to pack the car. After much squeezing and rearranging, we are off.

Sunday The return of the trunk brings with it more washing than is possible to imagine and as the weather forecast is for a brief morning of sunshine, followed by a return to our seasonal deluge, I need to get things going early. So, by 6am I am hanging out the first load. By 8am the third load is drying and the washing machine is whimpering in the corner. I take a break to water the garden.

This sounds mad, but this is no ordinary watering. For we have super-slugs, which make short work of any unattended plant. This watering is with nematodes. These wonderful creatures breed inside slugs and destroy from within, while leaving the slug entirely delicious to wildlife, with which my garden also teems.

So, as the washing churns, I lug watering cans full of wriggly creatures around, trying hard not to pour them on myself. In the afternoon, my daughter helps my husband and me in the garden.

Monday The markets are flying again today. Most of the Asian region has leapt by about 2% overnight and everyone is bullish again. I arrive at the office early to prepare a programme for an intern joining me today. After talking to him about my investment process and themes in the portfolio, we decide on a review of the steel sector around the region and start work.

Tuesday Today we start to review the steel sector. One of the largest themes in my portfolio is construction and engineering and so keeping on top of developments in steel is vital. I zoom home for dinner with friends.

Wednesday After a week of poor quality laggard stocks playing catch-up, markets today seem confused and directionless. This leaves plenty of time for more research. The steel data is rolling in now and a picture is emerging of falling prices across most types of product. Demand remains robust, suggesting the shipping and construction story has further margin appreciation to go. Next to review my expectations for the construction stocks.