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Tuesday, 23rd April 2024
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Outlook, Stockbroking and Accountancy.
In the quarterly forecasts published in this issue, the contributing economists forecast continued economic growth, saying that this will lead to higher interest rates. In the last forecasts published in May, the majority of economists predicted growth in interest rates, but there was a minority saying that rates would continue to fall in the short to medium-term.

Once again, this minority opinion is evident in this issue’s survey, with Donal O’Mahony of Davy Stockbrokers saying that the ECB will continue to cut rates up to the end of 2004, and so he recommends that corporate treasurers should not get a fixed rate on their borrowings.
And once again, Dan McLaughlin of Bank of Ireland is the most bullish of all economists, predicting that rates will rise to 4 per cent in the Eurozone by the end of 2004. With such a divergence of opinion, who should corporate treasurers listen to? The most sensible advise would probably be to take into account a little of what all the economists are saying, and fix a proportion of borrowings.

Equity markets have experienced something of a turnaround of late, and the economists predict that this will continue into 2004, bringing an end to the longest bear market in history.

A turbulent few months has come to an end at NCB Stockbrokers with the announcement in late August that management of the company, led by Conor O’Kelly, and with the help of Key Capital, have successfully bought out the stockbroking firm from parent company Ulster Bank, ending months of uncertainty over the future of the firm.

The move is good not only for NCB and its employees, but also for the market as a whole, as if the much touted acquisition by AIB took place, NCB would most likely have been merged with AIB’s stockbroking division Goodbody Stockbrokers, thereby reducing the number of firms operating in the Irish market to three.

We congratulate O’Kelly and his team and wish them the best of luck in bringing NCB to the next stage in its development.

In next month’s issue we will be publishing FINANCE’s annual accountancy survey. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has dominated this survey in the past number of years, but will face competition for the top slot this year from KPMG, whose fee income figure accounts for the first time for its acquisition of Andersen last year. Moreover, PwC divested PwC Consulting last year, and this will be taken into account in PwC’s fee income figures for this year.

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