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Tuesday, 11th August 2020
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A Day in the Life of an equity analyst Back  
Stuart Draper, head of research at Dolmen Securities, describes how a typical day involves providing analysis and views on the main events affecting the share prices of Irish publicly quoted companies.
6.45am The first alarm sounds and then five minutes later a second ensures that I get out of bed. I think the two-alarm system may have its origins in the combination of a KPMG chartered accountancy training, which insisted on back-ups for everything, and my own personal dislike of mornings.

7.10am After preparing some breakfast and while shaving, RTE tells me the headline full year results for Irish Life and Permanent and Glanbia on my bathroom radio. Irish Life‚€ôs operating profit is about ‚ā¨20 million better than consensus forecasts, but Glanbia‚€ôs operating profit sounds largely in line with expectations.

7.30am Living in Ballsbridge means that the drive to our offices at Earlsfort Terrace only takes about ten minutes, and upon arrival I investigate the morning‚€ôs results further. It appears that Irish Life‚€ôs results were helped by a better than expected recovery in life and pension sales in the second half of 2003, as well as a strong contribution from its non-life associate, Allianz Irish Life.

7.55am I communicate this to our dealing desks of stockbrokers and fund managers at our daily morning meeting which starts just before 8am. They are particularly relieved that Irish Life‚€ôs dividend has been increased by over 7 per cent to 51 cents as there had been a lot of fuss a year earlier in relation to the company‚€ôs ability to even maintain its dividend. I also point out that Glanbia‚€ôs underlying earnings were largely flat year on year and that the headline eps growth reported is explained by lower interest, tax and minority charges. Our Cork office also listens in to the daily morning meeting by conference call.

8.15am At this time, I had planned to travel to Abbey Street to attend Irish Life‚€ôs analyst meeting in person, but instead decide that I will log onto the webcast of the meeting beginning at 8.45am. The reason for the change of plan is that FBD Holdings has just announced its 2003 results and we have a number of private clients with significant holdings. As a result, I spend the next half hour going through what is by any measure a spectacular set of results, discussing my findings with some of our senior stockbrokers.

8.45am This is a common feature of the working day of an equity analyst, that of adapting one‚€ôs schedule in line with new events and announcements, which require analysis. Chief executive, David Went, and finance director, Peter FitzPatrick, host a detailed question and answers session as part of Irish Life‚€ôs webcast, with the whole analyst meeting lasting about an hour. With the help of my colleague, Owen Turner, research notes on Irish Life and FBD are then distributed to our client base as part of the ‚€ėDolmen Daily‚€ô publication.

10.00am Later today, Richard Hayes, chief executive of IFG Group plc, and Mark Bourke, finance director, will be visiting Dolmen for lunch. Another one of the roles of an equity analyst is to be a stock brokerage‚€ôs point of contact with public companies, so this requires some time this morning organising the attendees and format for the IFG company presentation. I also spend some time making sure that I am well informed on recent company developments prior to the meeting.

11.00am I also spend some time this morning going through Glanbia‚€ôs results in a little more detail in preparation for a phonecall from finance director, Geoffrey Meagher, at 12pm. Ryanair also releases its passenger numbers for February in this hour, which requires some comments to be e-mailed to our dealing desk.

12.00pm It is Kevin Toland, chief executive of Glanbia‚€ôs consumer foods division, who phones me instead of Geoffrey Meagher, to discuss his company‚€ôs 2003 results. This conversation confirms my expectation that the Irish food company will not generate any meaningful earnings growth in 2004, as a result of some disruption at its Irish fresh pork division and as a result of the currency translation effect for its US profits.

1.00pm The IFG company presentation is held in our main boardroom and is well attended by our senior stockbrokers and fund managers. There is much interest in what Richard Hayes and Mark Bourke have to say given the impressive recovery in the company‚€ôs share price in 2003.

2.30pm After lunch, I spend about an hour responding to various requests for research and analysis from our stockbroking and fund management desks. In addition to research on the larger public companies, which we routinely cover for our larger private clients, we also occasionally provide some research on much smaller companies to help improve their investment decisions.

3.45pm Another one of the roles of an equity analyst is to help increase a stock brokerage‚€ôs media profile. As a result, some time is given over every day to providing information and analysis to the business media. At 4pm, I do an Irish market report for an internet television service and spend the next hour providing analysis and insights to a number of business journalists on the day‚€ôs major company results.

5.00pm This is the part of the day when with the Irish and UK markets closed. I find it easiest to research new ideas and events, and write some research notes on them. This evening, I write a note on this week‚€ôs $440 million acquisition by Kerry Group of Quest Food Ingredients.

6.45pm While finishing my note on Kerry Group, I tune in to RTE radio‚€ôs evening business news on my PC to see if any further insights on today‚€ôs major company results are provided. Emma McNamara‚€ôs interviews with David Went and John Moloney further reinforce my bullish view of Irish Life for 2004 at ‚ā¨13, and my bearish view of Glanbia for 2004 at ‚ā¨2.50.

7.30pm After clearing my desk, I leave for home at 7.15pm and arrive home by 7.30pm.

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