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What does the summer have in store for markets?

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By Michael O’Connor

Markets in May

US equities ended in May on a modest note as inflation concerns dominated the headlines. The S&P 500 secured its fourth consecutive month of positive returns with a gain of 0.6%.

Value-oriented strategies led the way with both Growth and Momentum, last year's big winners, declining. Most factors posted positive gains, with financial and industrial leading the way as expected. Surprising to many, the Tech sector has now underperformed the S&P 500 Index for the past year.

Confidence continued to grow as economies reopened. Jobless claims in the US have fallen to a new pandemic low. Travel continues to rebound, with 1.9 million US travellers taking to the skies on Saturday, May 29, marking the busiest weekend of air travel since the pandemic began. Most importantly, successful vaccine rollouts continued in May, with the UK recording its first day of zero daily COVID deaths since the pandemic began.

What lies ahead

Despite multiple reasons for economic optimism, the expected inflation that comes with a global reopening is likely to result in some short-term market fragility over the coming months.

The most recent inflation figures saw YOY consumer prices increase 4.2% in April, the biggest 12-month increase since September 2008, the height of the financial crisis. Core PCE climbed to an annual figure of 3.1% in April, far exceeding the Fed's nominal target of 2%.

Inflation is likely to continue this run higher over the coming months. Rising commodity prices, a falling dollar, and wage growth resulting from severe labour shortages are likely to result in inflation figures of between 3% to 4% over the summer.

While short-term inflation moves suggest a continuation of the rotation into value stocks, it's important to note that the current inflationary environment is unlikely to persist over the longer term. The combination of transient inflation drivers and long-term deflationary factors should see inflation fall back to around 2.5% later this year.

So what does this mean for your portfolio?

Now is an opportune time to recalibrate your portfolios to avoid obvious interest rate risks. In my view it is a time to be underweight with long-duration assets, whether they be 20 Year Treasuries or disruptive tech stocks with no free-cash-flow. High volatility and small-caps and lower quality names should be avoided. Companies with superior cash-flow generation will continue to anchor portfolios as the current gusts of inflation takes hold.

I remain positive towards equities, with a bias to cyclical stocks and "value" names as earnings remain solid and monetary stimulus remains supportive.

With all that said, don't blindly presume that all stocks set to benefit from an economic reopening will be guaranteed "value" winners. Strong free-cash-flow is the focal point here.

Take booking.com as an example. At first glance, nations full of holiday-deprived travel enthusiasts would suggest that the near-term future is bright for the travel conglomerate. However, the market already appears to have jumped the gun on this one. 'Booking's' current valuation is now above its pre-pandemic levels despite the company's 2021 revenue projections being roughly half the revenue earned in 2019. Now I'm not saying that booking.com is a bad long-term investment, but as a forward-looking machine, the stock market has already priced in much of the expected near-term optimism, and then some, for these better-known reopening stocks.

Search for strong free-cash-flow, not just a compelling storyline.

For more investment insights, visit www.theislandinvestor.com.

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Documents for driving abroad in Europe

By John Healy of Healy Insurances As of August 2021, a green card (or international motor insurance card) is no longer required for travel in the European Economic Area. This […]

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By John Healy of Healy Insurances

As of August 2021, a green card (or international motor insurance card) is no longer required for travel in the European Economic Area.

This area includes all the European Union countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. You also don’t need a green card for Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Switzerland.

If you are travelling with your vehicle to the named counties you will still need to bring:

Your certificate of motor insurance
Your vehicle licencing certificate
Your driving licence
Your passport

If you are taking a company owned, hired or borrowed vehicle, you will need a letter of authorisation from the registered owner along with the vehicle licencing certificate.

It is important to check the legal requirements for the country you are driving in. Some EU countries including France will require you to carry the following items:

Reflective jackets for each occupant of the vehicle
Warning triangle
Headlamp beam deflectors
Breathalyser test
Spare bulb kit
First Aid Kit (compulsory in Austria, France and Germany)

It is advisable to have your travel insurance details, European breakdown cover details, health insurance details and your European Health Insurance card in your possession. Travel safe.

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Make your property look as appealing as possible

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY Over the past few weeks we have looked at ways of spring cleaning our homes in preparation for going to the market. The […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

Over the past few weeks we have looked at ways of spring cleaning our homes in preparation for going to the market. The final step and one of the most important is the kerb appeal of your home.

The exterior of your property is going to attract would-be buyers, it is a simple fact.

So let’s get it looking as well as we possibly can.

Our aim should be to make your property look as appealing as possible, to as many people as possible, ultimately leading to a higher selling price in a quicker timeframe.

Remember that first impressions last. After a long winter, things may not be looking their best in the garden but with the onset of spring and the warm sunny (hopefully) summer evenings, comes the opportunity in presenting our outdoor spaces in the best possible light.

Cut the lawns, brush the driveway, weed the flower beds, get those flower baskets and window boxes out. Lay out the patio furniture.

Do your footpaths/patio areas need a power hose?
How are the rainwater gutters – remove any debris/growth from them.

How’s the paintwork, are there any areas of peeling paint that need touching up?
Perhaps give the front door a lift with a new coat of paint.

Improving how your property looks from the outside is as important as how it feels once you’re inside, yet it often gets overlooked.

Remember our home is our most valuable asset so why not get it looking its very best. We get one chance to make that first impression so make it last, it will pay off.

For anyone considering selling their property or looking for advice on how best to prepare it for sale, contact DNG Ted Healy on 064 6639000 or killarney@dng.ie.

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