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Thursday, 23rd January 2020
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A Day in the Life: Dermot O'Leary, chief economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers Back  
As chief economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers, an early start is all part of the job for Dermot O'Leary, as getting the firm's morning comment out early is a must. The rest of his day is spent meeting both colleagues and clients and giving his perspective on the economic outlook for Ireland.
5.35am Alarm goes off but I attempt not to hear it. Wearily search and eventually find the snooze button, but it only affords me a few minutes much needed extra rest. It's time to get up and tackle the day ahead. Get ready before leaving the house at 6.15am. It's imperative to leave the house at this time to avoid the morning rush. The 'externalities' of Ireland's economic success over recent years are certainly very apparent if I leave the house any later to get through Dublin city and out to Ballsbridge. People are leaving the house earlier and earlier from commuter counties around Dublin and I can certainly sympathise with this.
Dermot O'Leary



6.45am After getting some thoughts and ideas together for my morning comments on the way in, I arrive in Goodbody Stockbrokers offices in Ballsbridge and make my way to the research department. I am greeted by some of my colleagues who are already in the office. Obviously more dedicated than I! The morning time is the most intense time of the day for members of the research department. With competition from other brokers and investment houses intense, our first client contact of the day - through our morning comment - must be both of good quality and produced early. The Bloomberg machine is the first call of the day to catch up on market movements overnight. Given the small nature of the Irish economy and equity market, Irish market economists must pay attention to a range of different variables. In 2007, the direction of US interest rates is likely to be a key determinant of global markets, so any clues on this front must be closely watched. The minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting in December was one interesting data point which was released overnight. From the tone of the text, we think that rates are likely to stay on hold for some months yet.

7.05am The papers arrive and I search for any articles that would be important from an investment point of view. The Irish housing market is yet again in the news, with estate agents stating that prices stagnated in the final quarter of 2006. This will be a topic of many a meeting on the Irish economy in the year ahead, as it has been for the past decade. We are still in the soft landing camp even though the risks have undoubtedly increased over the past twelve months.

7.20am Write economic view for our morning call publication. Gets one thinking early in the morning!

7.35am Have our daily meeting with the equity sales desk to update them of the news of the day. I give the economic view first of all which includes an update of relevant market events before the equity analysts take to the stage with news on a range of different companies in the Irish market.

8.00am Breakfast time at last. At least the morning rush works up an appetite. Because of the early starts, the company provide breakfast free of charge. The croissant and Danish look lovely, but I'll refrain from breaking New Year's resolutions just yet, at least until the end of January!

9.00am Have our weekly research meeting. Head of research, Joe Gill, has to keep up to date on the pipeline of projects that the team is working on. This is one of the most important meetings of the week as it gets us focused on the work in hand. Cracking the whip is not necessarily a bad thing.

10.30am Meeting with one of our institutional clients with our financials analyst Eamonn Hughes on the outlook for the year ahead. While the production of research is bread and butter to the job, interaction with clients on a daily basis is vital in improving the franchise of the business. A good year looks to be in prospect for the Irish market yet again in 2007. The Irish economy is likely to reach the peak in its growth trajectory this year, buoyed by consumer spending, while the global outlook looks quite benign with growth still healthy, inflation moderating and interest rates likely to go down in the US in the second half of the year. We hope we are right.

12.00pm Grab a quick sandwich on the way back to the office. Have to get stuck in to our next report. Still searching for ideas which really can come at any time. Time is of the essence though because January is generally a month packed full of travel. I'm off to Edinburgh, Brussels, Paris, London and New York to name but a few over the next three weeks. Some people say this is a pain, but getting away from the office and talking to people can actually generate a lot of ideas. In any case, it's all part of the job.

2.00pm Back into Dublin for another meeting on the outlook for the year. One has to try to alter what is said sometimes just to maintain sanity. It was an interesting meeting because the fund manager didn't entirely agree with our views on the year ahead. It's much more interesting when this happens. You need opposing views to make a market, remember.

4.00pm Put finishing touches to presentation for the US trip. The outlook for the housing market is likely to be key to sentiment around the Irish market in the year ahead, especially given the evidence of slowing building and price activity in the final quarter of last year. We think housing completions peaked in Ireland last year, and that the next few years will see a moderation to a sustainable level of completions of the order of 68,000 units per annum.

6.00pm Get ready for the commute home. While I manage to miss the traffic chaos on the way in, the same can not be said for the journey home. After regular shifts between the Last Word and the Right Hook on the journey home I finally get to my destination.

7.15pm Dinner is had and there is just enough time to sit down and relax for a bit.

10.00pm Absolutely exhausted, it's time for a bit of shut eye before starting the routine again the next day.

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