Global stock markets steadied, at least for now, in the wake of the latest governing council meeting from the European Central Bank. ECB president Mario Draghi said the bank would - in March - review its monetary policy, which includes record low interest rates and €60 billion a month asset purchasing programme aimed at making credit more widely available to businesses and consumers in the euro area to boost growth. Shares rallied in Europe, and on Wall Street, while the euro fell against sterling and the dollar.
Laura Devoy, from Goodbody, says the markets have seen a torrid start to the year with a lot of indices now in bear market territory, which means 20% corrections from market highs. Ms Devoy says the key issue on investors' minds is whether we are entering a global recession. That is being driven by three factors - the ongoing slowdown in China, oil prices falling to 12 year lows and the turn of the interest rate cycle in the US.
Goodbody's senior equity analyst says that Mario Draghi disappointed investors in December with his efforts to boost the euro zone economy, but she says that they did not expect the ECB chief to do much yesterday due to the fact that there has not been much data out since then. But Draghi did signal yesterday that he is ready to act and it is more likely we will see some action in March. She points out that growth in the euro zone is actually quite good but inflation remains the bugbear.
Ms Devoy says the trade links with China and the rest of the world are probably less than people perceive - 70% of what is produced in Europe actually goes to the US and Europe. But she adds that the Chinese slowdown will have an effect from a sentiment perspective but the slowdown there will be felt more in the Asia Pacific regions similar to what happened in the Asian crisis. However, the situation in China means that growth in Europe and the US can not afford to disappoint and all of the data out of the US has been a cause of concern since the start of the year. However all the concern is on the US manufacturing side and consumption is holding up - and most importantly - employment data is still really strong. She points out that we have never headed into recession in the US with a strong labour market.
The current turmoil on the markets has been very difficult for everyone but Ms Devoy says that a turn in the interest rate cycle always creates a difficulty for markets. She says that having a pure equity portfolio is "unusual" and people should use a mix of assets - some bonds and some alternatives such as hedge funds which are lower risk. While they may give a lower return, she says it means that in periods of volatility they afford some level of stability and capital preservation.
MORNING BRIEFS - Consulting firm Accenture is the latest professional services firm to embark on a hiring drive.
Having opened a new innovation centre in Dublin last September which will employ up to 200 people, Accenture this morning said it will hire an additional 250 across its core business. The expansion is driven by economic growth here which, Accenture's country managing director says he expects to continue in the year ahead.
*** Enniscorthy-based Taoglas, an Irish technology firm which specialises in wireless antennas, is opening a $2m facility in San Diego. The new design and testing site is said by Taoglas to be the first facility of its kind in North America. The company's technology helps enable machine-to-machine communication. Among the applications are connecting vehicles to the internet to track vehicles, allowing smart electricity meters to send information to energy companies and helping construction firms track the location of heavy machinery.
*** Stock market listed property investment vehicle Hibernia REIT has taken full ownership of two office buildings in Dublin for a net payment of just under €42m. Hibernia had bought debt secured on the property for €18m in May 2014 and had an option to take full ownership which it has now exercised.
*** Apple was paid $1 billion in 2014 by Google to keep its search bar on Apple iPhones. The figure was disclosed in a court hearing by a lawyer acting for Oracle which is suing Google.