Fund manager’s diary

Lucy MacDonald is co-manager of the Brunner Investment Trust. Her diary runs from 5-11 November.

Lucy Macdonald FS 450 large

Monday Our global morning meeting rounds up daily corporate news, results and vote changes with emphasis on those impacting our portfolios. This morning, news is light ahead of the US election tomorrow.

An exception is Celgene, a long term holding, which has posted good results in a trial for its drug ampremilast in psoriatic arthritis. We also own Abbott, whose drug Humira performed less well, and thus a question is posted on Chatter, our new interactive research system, on any negative impact on this stock.

I have a review meeting with an institutional client in the office, explaining the drivers of recent good performance, which is down to positive stock selection in financials and technology. The technology sector has been affected by structural shifts from PCs to tablets this year, which is having an impact on relative stock performance. Today our San Francisco analyst is commissioning a grassroots study on sell through trends for Windows 8 and new tablets and ultrabooks in US retailers to ensure we stay ahead of the curve on trends.

Travel to Singapore for Asian conference to gauge micro and macro climate in the region.

Tuesday Arrive evening in Singapore to catch output of Global insurance call with colleagues in London, Frankfurt and San Francisco discussing our holding in Ameriprise Financial, which is experiencing a rerating as the market recognises the improving returns in the business.

Wednesday US election results in. We take input from external advisors on the impact of Obama’s re-election on the US fiscal position. Our US healthcare analyst is putting through changes in his votes on the back of Affordable Healthcare Act impact. In Singapore I have one-on-one meetings with Ctrip, Hugo Boss, New Oriental Education, none are owned in global portfolios but they are potentially interesting after recent de-ratings. In London, the UBS restructuring is highlighted internally in our global portfolio meeting as a significant shift in strategy, and our European banks analyst is scheduled to call in to discuss in more detail.

Thursday Meetings with MTR and Fubon Financial this morning. Lunch with long term holding AIA, an Asian insurance company, where we have regular contact through our Hong Kong colleagues, and on the company’s regular investor trips to London. We saw them a month ago, so have some follow up questions on the purchase they are making from ING in Malaysia.

Priceline, another holding, a leading Online Travel provider announces a surprise acquisition of Kayak Software Corp. Late night discussion with our US analyst, who is participating in conference call. We agree the deal is a rational use of cash, buying a good brand, market position and software, but the valuation at 38x 2013 earnings looks high.

Friday I attend a useful presentation from an Asian gaming analyst on the potential for recovery in volumes in Singapore and Macau casinos, where visitor numbers have been slower this year. We are reviewing Genting Singapore, which owns Resorts World Singapore, one half of the profitable duopoly based on Sentosa island.

Debate on Chatter re the global financials sector, where we have a neutral position, having been significantly underweight three years ago. Quant, strategy analysts and portfolio managers join in, with views coloured by their regional experience. The sector has been the strongest performer this year, and a good case can be made for this to continue based on still low valuation, increased regulatory clarity, excess capital return through higher dividends and new more realistic management driving cost cutting and restructuring. Shuttle to the airport to catch flight to Colombo.

Saturday/Sunday Sri Lanka for the weekend visiting eco entrepreneur brother and his family, who have recently traded in cold and expensive London for warm and enticing Galle. At airport, indulge in favourite downtime activity of escapist browsing of property websites, this time Sri Lankan property which has shown a robust recovery from the tragedies of the Tsunami and war. Back to London in time for another busy week.