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MI Chelverton UK Equity Growth Fund – Monthly Manager Commentary – November 2017

November was a busy month from a macro perspective, with the Chancellor delivering his budget and the first base rate rise since July 2007. Whilst the impact of these two events was limited (as they were largely priced in to market expectations), they contributed to what is a broadly supportive economic environment. Business sentiment is positive and, with the recent relative strength of sterling, there is a reduction in the imported input cost inflation we have seen since the Referendum. Additionally, whilst consumer confidence is still limited, the growing sense that inflation has peaked should provide a more supportive environment for the consumer as we move into 2018. Add to this signs of progress with Brexit discussions, and it appears there is some slightly better news on the horizon.

From a stock perspective, our worst performer this month was Ultra Electronics, which issued a profit warning amid pressures on UK defence spending. We also saw pressure on the price of Polypipe, due to market nervousness around RMI spend. We added to both our Ultra and Polypipe positions amid this price weakness. Furthermore, we expect increased share price volatility in these last months of the year as December year-end companies fine tune earnings expectations and we will look to take advantage of any attractive opportunities.

We participated in two IPOs in November, adding new positions in Boku, an innovative payment platform which allows mobile users to pay for goods and services via their carrier billing, and Keystone Law, a decentralised law firm which is disrupting the mid-market legal sector. Boku was one of our better performers this month, as the IPO was well received. Our other key contributors were IMImobile, on the back of a supportive interim results, and Avon Rubber, after good finals and reduced concern about their forward order book.  Recent positive news also led to us trimming the positions of some of our better performers in Jackpotjoy, Spectris and Photo-Me. Finally, we exited our holding in IQE on valuation grounds after an excellent 2017.