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Price and value don’t always move in tandem

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By Michael O’Connor    

In 2021, the S&P 500 hit new record highs in nearly one-third of all trading days and saw losses capped at 5%.

In a year of perpetual uncertainty, we saw one of the most robust and stable market performances in the last 25 years.

"The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent" – John Maynard Keynes

Last year brought us the now infamous GameStop and AMC Short Squeezes, countless meme stock rallies and a 49,000,000% return for the meme coin Shibu Inu.

At this point, I think it’s blatantly apparent to everyone that price and value don’t always move in tandem.

In finance, we often expect the world to behave rationally. We carefully look to quantify the probability of each individual outcome, but not everything is measurable. We naively assume logic will prevail and underestimate the persistent irrationality of man.

As, investor Jim Grant reminds us:

"To suppose that the value of a common stock is determined purely by a corporation’s earnings discounted by the relevant interest rates and adjusted for the marginal tax rate is to forget that people have burned witches, gone to war on a whim, risen to the defense of Joseph Stalin and believed Orson Welles when he told them over the radio that the Martians had landed."

History is a perpetual stream of mistaken opinions and unpredictable outcomes. If you’ve relied on data and logic alone to make sense of the economy, you’ve been confused for one hundred years straight.

Instead of presuming everything is purely logical, it is important to realise that there are two sides to every investment: the numbers and the story.

While not always the case, in today’s momentum-driven market, ‘the story’ has consistently been more potent than the numbers. We have seen growth stocks soar off the back of compelling narratives about future possibilities with little numbers to back them up. SPAC’s, high growth stocks and altcoins have rocketed ‘to the moon’ all hitched to a promise of what could be.

This may be frustrating for many, but these market forces need to be acknowledged and understood. Blindly assuming that logic will instantaneously prevail is a sure way to underestimate the inherent risks of the market.

Crazy things happen in markets all the time. Don’t expect that to stop any time soon.

Outlook for 2022

In short, I view this to be the mid-cycle of the recovery. The growth rates seen early in the cycle will slow, volatility will increase, economic and earnings figures will be suppressed by higher inflation and less accommodative central bank policies. However, there are still opportunities for risk assets in the coming year, albeit with more modest expectations for returns.

I continue to favour US over international stocks. Large-cap and high-quality stocks look set to lead the way as markets will likely favour a tilt towards value stocks.

Fixed income remains an asymmetric trade with little upside, while alternatives will continue to become less ‘alternative’ as investors seek diversification in a rising interest rate market.

Risks abound, but opportunities will persist.

For my full, in depth 2022 outlook, go to www.theislandinvestor.com.

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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