Plenty of Joy but I'm Still Feeling Edgy; Mrs Cohen's Diary

Article excerpt

Byline: Mrs Cohen

Monday, August 5

9.30am My sister Joy is staying a few days, so today is a day out. I'm horribly mixed-up about the markets. I wish we could escape from Wall Street's clutches. It has risen far higher than London and could be heading for a nasty plunge. I'm worrying we'll follow it down. At present, we're enjoying an August rally but I keep wondering if it can last. Still, today I'm giving the markets a miss.

Tuesday, August 6

9.55am I notice an announcement for Oxford Molecular Group, the small biotechnology company that makes pharmaceutical software. Its interim results show sharply reduced first-half losses. The company says there is `significant progress towards sustainable profitability'. The biotechnology sector has fallen heavily recently. I held Chiroscience and Oxford Molecular last year, but the hectic gyrations unsettled me, so I sold them. Oxford is 300-310p. I'll print a chart and keep watching.

10.25 We're in my office drinking tea and talking about the stock market.

Joy is interested in FT-SE 100 shares. BP has results today, so we check them out. Very good figures and BP is rising towards 603p, its all-time high. Joy is reading my copy of Investment Clubs by Tony Drury, to see if she can interest some friends in starting a club back home.

Wednesday, August 7

8.45am Oxford Molecular is rising, now at 308-315p from 302-312p yesterday. I'd like to hold at least one biotechnology share. I buy 1,000 shares at 316p.

11.30 I'm showing Joy which bits of the daily financial paper to read to keep in touch with the market. We print out charts of four Footsie companies so she can follow their progress. We've chosen BP, still hitting new highs, Thorn-EMI, with a demerger into Thorn and EMI due on August 19, Granada and Orange. She'll add the daily price changes on these charts.

Thursday, August 8

8.50am Colleagues Group, the small direct marketing services group, flashes across the screen at 176p. That can't be right, it was 255p yesterday. I bought 2,000 Colleagues on June 8 last year at an average of 180.5p but sold them in July at 210.5p on a change of mind. My profit was [pounds sterling]552.

8.55 The news on Colleagues is a profits warning due to continuing postal strikes. That's sad.

Thursday, August 8

10.40am Joy is going home today, taking my copy of Peter Lynch's One Up on Wall Street, to read. …