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Pandemic policy changes have left us with skewed data figures

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By Michael O’Connor

They say history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes - at this point however, even the rhyming has stopped.

The pandemic policy changes have left us with skewed data figures, manipulated comp stats and a remarkably unfamiliar backdrop resulting in immeasurable uncertainty amongst investors across the globe.

During times like this, it is best to break complex problems down to their simplest forms and concentrate solely on the most crucial variables.

And the most crucial variables in this case are inflation and Fed policy.

An infinite number of potential outcomes are possible over the coming months, but all will be derived based on the aggressiveness of future Fed adjustments and the persistence of inflation.

There will always be risk

There is no perfect scenario here. The inflation we are experiencing is the by-product of an overheating economy.

The cumulative net worth of US Households is now almost $150 Trillion, $80 Trillion more than it was 10 years ago. The US labour market currently boasts two jobs for every one person looking for work, and corporate earnings jumped 35% in 2021, the largest increase since 1950.

Simply put, there is more money in the system than ever before.

The supply side issues have been well documented, but if inflation is to be quelled, then the demand side of the equation needs to be solved.

This is where the Fed’s tightening cycle comes in.

The Fed cannot improve supply issues, but they can negatively impact demand by dampening the labour market and decreasing the amount of capital in the systems through higher interest rates.

This tighter monetary policy is expected to bring inflation under control, but as the Fed increases the speed of rate hikes, the odds of economic contraction also increase.

In short, the goldilocks scenario of a gradual decline in inflation while maintaining labour market strength, household wealth and corporate profits, remains a pipe dream.

To strip inflation out of the system, a period of economic contraction is a necessary evil.

Crucially, this contraction does not need to lead to a crippling recession or anything of the sort. The level of contraction we experience will depend solely on the Fed’s ability to strike a balance between cooling inflation and maintaining demand.

Only time will tell if they can successfully thread the needle.

Jumping back in

Before declaring an all-clear for stocks, investors need to believe we are at the peak of policy tightening and inflationary pressure.

Certainly, we are seeing signs of improvement from an inflationary standpoint. For example, wheat prices are now lower than at the beginning of the war in Ukraine - another showcase of the unpredictability of markets.

With that said, one crucial paradox remains. Investors want interest rates to fall so stocks can rise, but any fall in interest rates is unlikely if stocks rally, somewhat capping the recent upside.

Make a plan

As always, I encourage a long-term focus. Investors will be better served focusing on the bull market opportunity on the other side rather than overemphasising what may be left in the bear market.

Those looking to take advantage of any potential upside need to get their house in order. You need to take the time to develop a clear picture of what your allocation will look like, create a watchlist of preferred names and know your entry points.

Scrambling together a plan after the fact is a sure-fire way to ensure you miss the very opportunity you were trying to capture.

Learn more at

https://www.theislandinvestor.com/

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How to boost your immune system with nutrition

By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability. While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, […]

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By Tara Tangney from Activate Fitness

The immune system is precisely that — a system. To function well, it requires stability.

While there is no magic bullet for increasing immunity, there are ways to keep your immune system strong so that you are better prepared to fight off infections and heal quickly.

As long as your immune system is running smoothly, you don’t notice that it’s there, but if it stops working properly – because it’s weak or can’t fight particularly aggressive germs – you get ill.

Without an immune system, we would have no way to fight harmful things that enter our body from the outside or harmful changes that occur inside our body. Here are five ways to ensure you support a good immune system coming into the wintery months:

1. Eat More Vegetables

While all vegetables have health benefits, some pack a more powerful immune-boosting punch than others. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and tomatoes are rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), which helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections.

2. Eat Balanced Meals

Include all macronutrients in your meals. Protein is particularly important for healing and recovery. Protein sources include leaner sources of meat, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, beans, soy, nuts and seeds. These foods are also good sources of zinc, a mineral that promotes healthy immune function and aids in wound healing. Healthy fats are also essential to support our immune health. Try to include a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your daily diet. These are found in avocados, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. These foods provide good fats but are also rich in phytonutrients and fat-soluble vitamins. For example, a small handful of nuts such as almonds is a great source of vitamin E. Wild-caught salmon is one of the only foods naturally rich in vitamin D. Fatty fish are also rich in essential fats called omega-3s, which are known for their multiple health benefits.

3. Regular Exercise

Exercise is one of the main aspects that support a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise promotes cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and offers protection against a variety of diseases. And just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to a healthy immune system, improves blood circulation allowing immune system cells to move through the body more freely and do their job more effectively.

4. Good Quality Sleep

Getting enough sleep has many health benefits. The lack of sleep puts your body into ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing adrenaline and increased stress hormones into the body. Research shows that in general, adults need at least seven hours of sleep for optimal health and well-being. As we sleep our immune system works to heal and repair the body. A few tips for getting a good night’s sleep include avoiding caffeine in the evenings, turning off your screens (TV, laptop, phones, etc.) well before bedtime and sleeping in a cool, dark room.

5. Manage Your Stress

You may not often think about how stress affects your ability to fight off infection, but your state of mind can have a significant impact on your health. When you are experiencing more stress, your immunity is compromised, which puts you at a higher risk of getting sick. Managing stress may help you fight germs and infections. Stress management techniques include breath work, meditation, yoga, moderate exercise, walking etc. Having a support system of close friends and family can also help us feel connected and stay strong throughout stressful times.

Although there is no magical potion for immunity, you can take these five steps to boost your immune system which is very important as we enter the colder and darker mornings of winter. Don’t underestimate your lifestyle’s impact on your ability to help keep your immune system strong. Good nutrition, quality sleep, and managing stress can all have a significant impact on your health. If you need help with your nutrition, send us an email at nutrition@activate.ie and we will be happy to help you!

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Ireland’s newest and toughest cycle will be a thrilling challenge

Ireland’s newest cycling event comes to Kenmare this month with an exciting and challenging course for the experienced cyclist. Already attracting attention within cycling communities around the country, Velo Kenmare […]

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Ireland’s newest cycling event comes to Kenmare this month with an exciting and challenging course for the experienced cyclist.

Already attracting attention within cycling communities around the country, Velo Kenmare will tackle some of Kerry’s toughest climbs and highest mountain passes.

Taking place on October 22, Velo Kenmare is an 135km timed loop route starting and finishing in Kenmare. The total climbing distance is 1,650m, and organisers hope to appeal to serious cyclists who are looking for a new and thrilling challenge.

No stranger to cycling events, Velo Kenmare is being managed by Elite Events Management, who also successfully deliver iconic cycling events Wicklow 200, Ride Dingle and the Ring of Beara Cycle.
Cyclists are encouraged to register for Velo Kenmare on the Velo Cycle Ireland website www.velocycleireland.ie but places are limited for the enjoyment and safety of all participants, and anyone interested is urged to sign up soon as places are filling up.

TOUGH CLIMBS

​​​​The tough enough mountain climbs are over Molls Gap, Ballaghbeama Pass, Ballaghasheen and Coomakista. The route will take in breathtaking scenery Kenmare is famous for, and incorporating some of the most stunning parts of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ring of Kerry. It is hoped visitors to the cycle event will be encouraged to stay for a few days, and will all be given €20 vouchers or ‘Velo Dollars’ to spend in local shops which will be redeemable against goods and services in Kenmare.

Riders will be allotted a time slot to allow for a staggered start, taking them along a fully marshalled route, with medical cover, bike mechanic support, and hot food and entertainment at the finish in Kenmare.

Making its mark, Velo Kenmare participant race packs will come inside a yellow Velo Kenmare water bottle and finishers’ medals are in the shape of a yellow cow bell. Prizes will be awarded for the quickest top three male and top three female finishers, and fastest male and female will be awarded the title of King and Queen of the Kerry Mountains.

Experienced cyclists are encouraged to take on this exciting new challenge, testing themselves and their clubmates for the fastest finish across these four gruelling climbs, through some of the most beautiful landscape in the country for the best welcome back at the finish.

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