Fund Manager’s Diary

Today was the first home game for Fulham in the Premiership and it turned out to be a glorious victory against Arsenal - slightly unexpected after losing to Hull a week earlier.

Saturday Today was the first home game for Fulham in the Premiership and it turned out to be a glorious victory against Arsenal – slightly unexpected after losing to Hull a week earlier.

This was one of the most satisfying wins I have seen, hopefully boding better for the rest of the season after last year’s gruelling relegation battle.

Sunday Need a day of respite so go fishing down on the Nadder near Salisbury. It is a beautiful day and I catch five brown trout on nymphs. Happy to be out of London by a river for the first time this year. Overall, a great weekend, with Sunday evening spent gearing up for the gruelling results season in full swing in China.

Monday Some important results early in the week are China Life, Sinopec and China National Building Materials; each of which will have repercussions in overall market sentiment. We have significant positions (long and short) in Hong Kong-quoted Chinese companies so it is important that things do not provide unexpected surprises for the markets. Today things go our way, but there is much more to come over the rest of the week.

Play tennis under the M40 near home in west London. It always feels slightly as if you are playing in the middle of a traffic island, but the courts are fine enough for my mediocre standard and it is good to be outside.

Tuesday The German Ifo survey is released. It gives an indication of the country’s business and consumer confidence, which is significantly worse than expected.

Along with our view that the euro is likely to weaken this provides yet more headwinds for Asia, as a lot of the beneficiaries in the recent turmoil have been companies that had seen sales to Europe hold up relatively well. It confirms our stance that exporters to the developed world will struggle for the rest of the year.

Wednesday More results out today, the most interesting of which is Esprit, after hours. Results are slightly below expectations. More significantly its outlook is much weaker, describing previous expectations of 20% revenue growth as being ‘unrealistic’, which should push it lower tomorrow.

China Mobile also came out with figures causing earnings forecasts to be downgraded and confirming the general gloom attached to Chinese companies. The good news is that analysts are more aggressively cutting their estimates, one of the conditions that we argue is necessary before Asian equities can have a convincing rebound.

Thursday August is generally a quiet month in equity markets as much of the investment world goes on holiday, and this year is no exception. Compounded by the relentlessly bad headline news even this week’s market volumes are significantly lower than a month ago.

Ongoing political turmoil in Thailand, with protestors occupying part of the prime minister’s compound, receives a lot of media attention. While there is definitely rising political risk in several countries in Asia, I spend the afternoon looking for some potential investment opportunities in Thailand.

Friday It definitely feels like the end of a long week and with the month end there is a brief moment of respite. We launch a fund on September 8, and the afternoon is spent revisiting everything in the model portfolio to make sure nothing has been derailed by recent events. It is a pretty defensive portfolio and hard to see that changing in the next week.

  • Mark Williams manages the Occam Asia Focus fund. His diary runs from August 23-29.