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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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International day was a recipe for success

By Michelle CreanSpicy dishes and sweet treats were part of the experience in Killarney Community College as students took time out on Monday to celebrate a variety of different cultures. […]

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By Michelle CreanSpicy dishes and sweet treats were part of the experience in Killarney Community College as students took time out on Monday to celebrate a variety of different cultures.

The Modern Foreign Languages Department organised many events throughout the week but activity that took centre stage place was MasterChef for International Culture Day.

60 students from different countries took part by cooking dishes from their native countries. The judges had their work cut out for them but they finally agreed on a deserving winner.

First place went to Greece with a classic but simple Greek salad which was unbelievably well received by all. In second place was the Polish representatives who made mouth-watering pierogi dumplings while students from Germany produced a sweet cake from their own specific region and took third place.

First Year students got the opportunity to sample the food and learn about the dishes and cultures.

Stickers were worn on students’ jumpers from European Day of Languages and allowed students to speak with other students from their country and make new friends.

“It’s important to recognise and celebrate the ever-growing variety of different cultures within our society and our school setting,” Principal Stella Loughnane said.

“These opportunities provide a great scope for our students to learn and have a better understanding of these cultures while creating a greater respect for everyone’s backgrounds. I also got to taste a few of the dishes and even managed to snag a couple of recipes, they were that good.”

BREWING UP

Meanwhile it was a feel-good morning last Thursday at the school as students and staff brewed up for the Kerry Hospice Foundation.

They enjoyed many delicious treats kindly donated by staff all for an amazing cause. The Bewley’s Big Coffee Morning in aid of Kerry Hospice raised a whopping €650, this will no doubt be put to great use in supporting people in difficult times. This charity has an extra special meaning for Killarney Community College as they have had members of staff, who in challenging times, were supported by this outstanding service.

Ms Loughnane commended the efforts of staff involved adding that it was such a worthwhile cause.

“The college was delighted to host this event to raise funds for Kerry Hospice who provide so much support to our community at times of need, it is so important to give a little back.”

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Godley fourth in National Ploughing competition

By Sean Moriarty Four years on from his last appearance at the National Ploughing Championships, Shane Godley continues to move up the ranks in his age group. The Killarney Ploughing […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Four years on from his last appearance at the National Ploughing Championships, Shane Godley continues to move up the ranks in his age group.

The Killarney Ploughing Association member last represented Kerry in the Under 21s in 2018 when he placed sixth in the two-furrow conventional class in the national competition.

Last week at the 2022 National Ploughing Championships at Rathinaska, County Laois he placed fourth in the under 28 age group for the same category.

“Weather conditions for both the ploughing days was very good but the ground was very hard,” he said.

Club mate Mike Brosnan from Gortalea, finished 20th in the ‘Vintage Mounted’ class. They were the only two members of Killarney Ploughing Association to compete at the event.

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