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Stocks: The story so far

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By Michael O’Connor

Stocks have rebounded in recent weeks after a rocky start to the year amid concerns about the Federal Reserve tightening monetary policy to fight inflation and the war in Ukraine.

At the very start of the year, money in the system and record low interest rates meant stocks kept climbing higher despite the brewing of some severe problems.

Evidence of inflation to anyone who fed their families or filled their cars was now beginning to appear in official statistics. Russia had started amassing troops on the Ukrainian border. These factors led to an inevitable market reaction.

In the weeks that followed, market pandemonium ensued. The tech-heavy NASDAQ index fell sharply and entered into a bear market, down 20% from its highs, while the S&P 500 fell 12.5%.

Equity strength returned in March, and the recovery has been nearly as spectacular as the decline that preceded it. The major indices have recouped roughly two-thirds of the losses sustained over the previous two months in a single month.

Despite the late comeback, all three major averages posted their worst quarter since March 2020. The Dow and S&P 500 declined 4.6% and 4.9% respectively, and the Nasdaq dropped more than 9%.

But we are not out of the woods just yet. Volatility is likely to persist.

Hindsight is 2020

It’s easy to look back now once we have experienced a significant run upwards and state that the market was oversold, and this decline was a buying opportunity, but I think that missed the point. It undermines the uncertainty that exists when war is raging and the value of your assets are falling.

The reality is, it’s not how much the market has fallen that scares investors, it’s how much it could fall. Every time the market falls a little, we worry it will fall a lot. It’s human nature.

Me telling you last month that corrections are a regular part of the market function, and we have seen three corrections of 10% or more in just over three years, doesn’t strip out the gnawing thought that this time might be different.

Unfortunately, stock investing isn’t free. Volatility and uncertainty are the mandatory entry fees if you want access to the high returns on offer.

The least satisfying but most prudent action here? Focus on your long-term objectives and forget the rest. There will always be a seemingly justifiable reason to sell, but history has shown that markets prevail.

Outlook

Volatility is likely to remain, but some sectors will absorb the impact better than others. Exposure to real cash-flow generating assets such as rental real estate is crucial.

Equity exposure should be focused on companies that can pass on rising prices to consumers without much disruption to their net margins. Think consumer staples and utility companies. Even if prices rise, we still need groceries and electricity.

Lastly, oil and energy companies, especially those that do not hedge away their price exposure, seem to be the obvious trade of the day. In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about the stranded asset risk of oil and the environmental consequences that must be considered. Still, without an immediate substitute available, our dependence looks set to linger on over the medium-term.

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Ghost hunter’s video goes viral

By Michelle Crean They have a love of things that go bump in the night – and it seems the public do too – as a Killarney man’s ghost hunting […]

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By Michelle Crean

They have a love of things that go bump in the night – and it seems the public do too – as a Killarney man’s ghost hunting video has gone viral.

PJ O’Sullivan from Púca Vogue Paranormal Ireland and his ghost busting team posted a video online around Christmas time, but it was only over the last two weeks that it went viral – clocking up 1.9 million views and over 2k likes on Facebook.

“We were naturally shocked ourselves at this,” PJ, who is originally from Gneeveguilla but lives in St Mary’s Terrace in town, told the Killarney Advertiser.

The video was taken in Redwood Castle in, Lorrha, Co Tipperary in October when the Irish paranormal investigator invited like-minded people to the location for Hallowe’en.

PJ, who has been a paranormal investigator for over 15 years, set up Púca Vogue Paranormal Ireland three years ago and works alongside his son Leo and his partner Eva Walsh.

In the clip, Eva and Liz Kelleher are in the background with singer/songwriter Rebecca McRedmond front and centre.

“On the night we had a total of 10 people in the castle for the lockdown investigation including our own Rory Murphy and Veronika Slomiany,” he said.

“It was filmed on the ground floor inside the main entrance area. It was a Hallowe’en paranormal investigation where we had guests including Damien O’Rourke from Cuppa Tea TV.

“We were investigating the ground floor. It was filmed in total darkness and Rebecca had felt a touch as we started and shortly in this clip she felt another touch at her leg. Eva had also commented the room had now felt tense, so on review of the footage we can see what we believe is her dress floating outward, and on inspection both her ankles show her feet were on the ground; there was no drafts, and it tied in with the experience so we shared that clip.”

He added that they share clips from investigations but let people decide for themselves what it is that they see.

“We share what we believe we capture and this is just a few minutes as a part of the whole night as we investigate the castle over all floors usually from around 9.30pm to 4am with breaks and we have up to five cameras recording in 50 minute segments continuously which we download after for review. But as you can imagine with full-time jobs and life it takes time to review all the footage so we mix what we do with pictures and sites of interest. We are non-profit on all events. We had done Leap Castle the previous night, this is claimed as Ireland’s most haunted castle and again shared the experience, but this is the reel that just took off on Facebook which has us surprised, but we are all very proud of Púca Vogue Paranormal.

“This is not our first capture from this castle as we have previously shared on their social media, we experienced more on the night which we will share at future dates.”

To see the video go to our Facebook page: Púca Vogue Paranormal Investigations.

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Bean in Killarney to cease trading due to rising costs

By Sean Moriarty A Plunkett St coffee shop has been forced to shut its doors due to the soaring costs of doing business. Bean in Killarney opened in late January […]

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By Sean Moriarty

A Plunkett St coffee shop has been forced to shut its doors due to the soaring costs of doing business.

Bean in Killarney opened in late January 2021.

Last March it was named as one of the ‘Financial Times’ list of ‘Best Independent Coffee Shops in the World’.

It was just one of 30 coffee shops worldwide – and one of only two in Ireland – to make the list, which includes entries from world cities like Paris, London and Sydney.

Bean in Killarney is a sister café to Bean in Dingle which was set up by brothers Justin and Luke Burgess.

The local branch was managed by brothers Joey and Euan Boland, who are also from Dingle.

It was a popular coffee stop for locals and visitors alike but despite its popularity and accolades, the business could not survive the current economic climate.

“After two great years we have made the really tough decision to close Bean in Killarney,” said a company statement.

“We opened during the height of the lockdown with the hope that when all restrictions came to an end, the shop would kick off like the Dingle one did.

“However, 2022 brought about new challenges and unfortunately ended up being harder rather than easier. We are a family-run business and rapidly rising costs meant we traded less than we did during 2021’s numerous restrictions. We had hoped to ride out the storm, but it’s not possible to continue operating at a loss.”

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