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Back in a bear market




By Michael O’Connor

Investors' wounds deepened last week as the S&P 500 fell nearly 3%, declining for the fourth week out of the past five.

The NASDAQ precipitous decline continued into Monday, putting the tech-based index into bear-market territory, as it fell more than 20.0% below a recent high set in November. While this drop may seem alarming, the NASDAQ has compounded at 21% a year for the last five years despite experiencing three bear markets in the past five years.

All is not lost.

To be blunt, the outlook remains very much uncertain. The degree and duration of the war are huge unknowns that can change rapidly and have enormous implications on economic growth, inflation, and interest rates.

With that said, my base case remains the same. The war can subside over the coming months allowing inflation to moderate and sentiment to revert. With strong consumer demand, robust US household balance sheets and money on the sidelines, earnings can remain elevated, and US economic growth can remain positive.

Valuations have also become more compelling at current levels, with the S&P 500’s forward P/E now below its pre-pandemic levels. Undoubtedly multiples can contract further in the short-term if the geopolitical tensions worsen, but I believe a reversal is likely by year-end as the current headwinds subside.


The dating App Bumble jumped 28.5% last week as the firm's revenue figures grew 25.7% year-over-year.

Despite Bumble experiencing its strongest trading day ever, it still sits 70% below its IPO price. The current inflation-induced growth stock distain will ensure that a quick reversal to previous highs remains unlikely despite last week's success.


It appears that investors previously boasting the endless potential of every high-growth SaaS company in existence are now cutting all ties and denying any involvement, quickly reclaiming Warren Buffet as their one true leader.

DocuSign tops the bill this week as the poster child of the discarded pandemic darling. Already down 70% from all-time highs, the stock plummeted another 20% following Thursday's less than inspiring earnings call.

In keeping with the theme of the quarter, the company reported solid Q4 results, but weaker guidance sent the stock plummeting. Lower than expected revenue guidance and a predicted annual growth of only 13% for a company that is still pre-earnings brought the growth narrative very much into question.


Lower valuation multiples are appealing, but investors are acutely aware of the dangers that lie ahead over the short term. Inflation has surged to a 7.9% annual rate, a number that looks likely to remain elevated as commodity prices rise, while upcoming interest rate hikes represent the potential for a policy misstep by the Fed.

Volatility is likely to remain, but some sectors will absorb the impact better than others. Short duration, long value remains the order of the day with a tilt towards energy, consumer staples and real estate.

To learn how to start your investing journey, go to the



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


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Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

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