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A handful of winners




By Michael O’Connor,

There seems to be a narrative in the market suggesting that stocks typically go up over time, and therefore, with a little homework 'my stock picks' will go up even more - but it isn't that simple.

This isn't a 50/50-coin toss.

The concentration of winners is more severe than you think.

The Russell 3000 Index has returned an average annualised return of 13% since 1980, but the disparity of returns that generate these profits is rarely focused on.

The vast majority of the positive returns over time can be attributed to just 7% of stocks - the 'mega winners'.

In a similar report studying the historical performance of the S&P 500, only 22% of the stocks in the S&P 500 outperformed the index from 2000 to 2020. Over that measurement period, the S&P 500 gained 322%, while the median stock rose by just 63%.

Put simply, the probability of picking a winner is lower than you think, but all is not lost. A couple of big winners are all you need.

A few good decisions

Warren Buffett - arguably the most successful investor in history, recently attributed his success to just 'a dozen truly good decisions'.

"Over the years, I have made many mistakes - our satisfactory results have been the product of about a dozen truly good decisions — that would be about one every five years. "

That's right, the best investor in history made one good decision every five years.

So how can someone who claims this be heralded as an investment guru?


A stock can only drop by 100%, but there's no technical limit to how high a stock can go, so when you invest in some truly great companies, the handful of winners can more than offset the graveyard of losses you accumulate along the way.

Let's take one of Buffet's most notorious investments as an example;

Over a period of seven years ending in 1994, Buffett accumulated 400 million shares of Coca-Cola at a total cost of $1.3 billion. As of the end of 2022, that position was worth $25 billion. And let's not forget the $704 million in annual dividends.

For me, stocks like TTD and Nvidia have more than offset some very questionable investment decisions. (24-year-old me has a lot to answer for, but you live and learn, I guess).

Obviously, the goal is only to pick winners, but on the off-chance you can't perfectly predict the future, here's a good place to start:

1. Stop trying to jump on every opportunity. Focus on making a few good decisions and give them time to work in your favour.

2. Don't be fooled into thinking every investment will be a winner. You won't stick it out very long if you expect to be in the green 24/7. There will be guaranteed losses along the way, but over time, a handful of big winners is all you need.

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Fire warning in National Park

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places […]




The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places this summer.

As they appeal to the public to exercise renewed care and responsibility when outdoors the National Parks and Wildlife Service has increased ground crews on fire patrol and has ramped up aerial monitoring with helicopters and drones.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said:

“If you notice a fire, please call the emergency services on 112 immediately. NPWS teams are upping their patrols to identify potential fire incidents and act quickly should one break out. However as we know, prevention is better than cure, and we’re asking all members of the public to avoid lighting fires in open areas.”

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD commented further:

“Our National Parks and Nature Reserves, coastal sand dunes, mountains and upland areas, forests, meadows and urban parks are all places where we enjoy spending time in nature, but they are also home to our precious wildlife and their vulnerable young. This is a really important time of year for wildlife, especially vulnerable ground-nesting birds and mammals who are now rearing their young. We all want to get out and enjoy the good weather but let’s do it responsibly – without putting nature at risk.”

The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, has also asked for everybody’s cooperation to protect nature and said:

“While NPWS has increased ground crews and monitoring from the air this week, we still need to enlist your help to protect nature at this high risk time. We ask that members of the public not light fires or barbecues in any National Parks or Nature Reserves, or indeed in nature generally. We are also asking that the public be vigilant and report any fire activity without delay.”

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Killarney Looking Good Competition returns

Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new […]




Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new committee, new categories, new sponsors and a whole new approach.

When the project was first launched in 1991 it was a relatively low-key community event but it grew in importance with each passing year, culminating in some style when Killarney won the prestigious overall award in the national tidy towns competition in 2011.

After an enforced three-year absence since 2019, due to the pandemic, the competition has now been given a whole new lease of life and the 2023 version was officially launched this week by Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher.

Awards will be presented in 26 different categories and high achievers in the business and residential community will be honoured at a gala prizegiving ceremony at the close of the tourist season.

This year two new categories are being introduced in memory of two remarkable people who played massive roles in keeping Killarney looking its best down through the years.

Yvonne Quill, who passed away last October, was the driving force behind the Killarney tidy towns campaign for several years and she was at the helm when the sought-after overall award was secured 12 years ago.

This year the Yvonne Quill Memorial Award will be presented to the volunteer of the year – a person who the adjudicators consider to be a standout contributor – in the overall effort to keep Killarney tidy.

Up to the time of his death in January 2020, Fr Michael Murphy was the public face of tidy towns and he played a huge part in Killarney, Kenmare and Sneem winning the overall national award in 2011, 2000 and 1987 respectively. Affectionately known as Fr Tidy, this year the Killarney Looking Good Competition will honour his memory with a special Pride of Place award.

In the business community, there will be awards for the best large and small commercial premises, best newly painted premises, best signage and the best retail award with prizes also for the most impressive hotel, public house, restaurant, café, guesthouse and best public building as well as the most improved premises.
In the residential categories awards will go to the best large and small estates, best private residence, best roadside garden, best floral display and best friendly planting award.

Other categories include a green hospitality award, a corporate special responsibility award, a restoration award, best school and a special biodiversity award.
Several highly commended awards will also be up for grabs and the winner of the prestigious overall award will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony.

The Killarney Looking Good Competition is organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Killarney Municipal District Council and the new committee comprises Sandra Dunlea – a daughter of the late Yvonne Quill – Kathleen Foley, John O’Mahony and Johnny McGuire who is spearheading the project.

MD O’Shea & Sons are the new overall sponsors of the competition and O’Mahony Media Ltd is the media sponsor.

The competition will run throughout the tourist season and businesses and residential areas will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

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