Fund Manager’s Diary

Monday Settle down on the train to read the newspaper. Equity markets have another tough day. Two large deals announced in America – Ingersoll Rand is to buy Trane, an air-conditioning company, for $10 billion [£5.1 billion] and National Oilwell has agreed to buy drill pipe supplier General Prideco for $7 billion.

National Oilwell, the best performing stock in the S&P 500 this year and one of our largest positions, fell nearly 10% on the day. An over-reaction in my view as the deal makes good commercial sense, but painful for the funds as we own the shares.

Tuesday The limbs are creaking today as I step onto the platform. A delayed reaction to taking part in the parents versus children rugby match on Sunday. Today I review the portfolios with my colleagues and discuss Ansys, an American company that is a leader in computer aided engineering software. I have been researching this idea for some time and believe it is now time to act. We start buying some shares as well as spending some of the cash we hold.

Wednesday Day two in the England versus Sri Lanka test match; with hope of an England win I have a break from Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up to Money to listen to the commentary and avoid the recent gloom of the markets.

The news today however, is a little more positive with interbank rates easing back from recent highs. At last some good news and we have a good day for the funds. I review the risk profile of the portfolios with our head of equities. It is important to ensure the portfolio is well diversified and that the risk budget is not concentrated.

Thursday The disappointment of the cricket score is lessened by news that Accenture and Oracle had good results and this might give people confidence that, for the moment at least, the global economy remains sound.

Only seven trading days left in 2007; the funds have had a good year so far and these results should help ensure that it stays that way. Our consumer analyst suggests I buy Dreamworks, the computer animated film company. The shares have fallen back a long way this year. The company will release Kung Fu Panda in mid-2008. Looks an interesting idea.

Friday Another good day in the markets as a result of more encouraging economic data. How fickle the markets are – it is only a few days since the economic news was apparently bad. I review the funds with the team, and spend the day reading research. Markets are favourable for the funds and I’m delighted to see Ansys up nearly 6%.

National Oilwell is also recovering nicely. I check the Blackberry for any notable share price moves later in the evening. Stock of the day seems to be Millicom, the emerging markets mobile phone operator, which is up 10% and is one of the largest holdings in the fund.

Saturday Take my daughter out riding before settling down to wrap presents. Judging from the number it seems my family is trying to arrest any consumer downturn single-handed.

Sunday I contemplate the impact of sovereign wealth funds on stockmarkets lately. Investments in Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, UBS and others show that someone thinks there is value in the financial sector and, with their shares prices down more than 30% from their highs, maybe they are right. Perhaps not a time to be short banks too much.

  • David Marchant is head of international equities at Insight Investment. His diary runs from December 17-23, 2007.