This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS - See his portfolio and get alerts BEFORE every trade. Learn more NOW!

Irish Stocks Still Lucky

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Like many European countries, Ireland saw its fortunes hit hard by the region's financial crisis. Nevertheless, the tremendous comeback in its stock market has a lot more to do with the pluck of the Irish than luck, said Noel O'Halloran, portfolio manager of the New Ireland Fund (IRL - Get Report). The closed-end fund, which was launched in March 1990, has returned an impressive 30% so far this year.

Welcome to TheStreet's Fund Manager Five Spot, where the world's top fund managers give their best stock picks and views on the market in a five-question format.

The New Ireland Fund is having a fantastic year even while other European country funds are struggling. What is driving this outperformance?

O'Halloran: First, the outperformance can be attributed to our active stock-picking. As a relatively small stock market, Ireland lends itself to active stock-picking. The portfolio is a focused portfolio of just over 20 names. Style-wise, I have maintained a high quality focus, or, in other words, we look for strong balance sheets, cash flow and management. I also focus on stocks with positive earnings momentum and dividend paying ability when possible. Thus far I have been avoiding low quality and deep value stocks, as I don't believe the recovery to be strong enough at this point to benefit more "fragile" stocks.

Why is the Irish economy moving forward in the face of austerity while so many other European nations are falling behind?

O'Halloran: Ireland arguably started to restructure its economy earlier. It recapitalized the banks, for example, and brought in a series of harsh budgets. Fortunately, the Irish people didn't rebel on the streets and accepted the reform more than many European counterparts. From a recovery perspective, we are recovering via the export economy, rather than the domestic economy, which is hit hard by austerity. The export economy is doing very well because unit labor costs have come down by about 25% since 2009 relative to Europe. Furthermore, we still have strong trade linkages to the US and UK which in relative terms have held up better than other economies.

What is your view of Ryanair (RYAAY - Get Report)?

O'Halloran: I like Ryanair and it is in the top three holdings in the fund. Their low-cost model, strong management and cost focus helps them remain a winner in these "austere" times. The strong balance sheet allows them make a special dividend payment over coming months to shareholders which is unique in their sector.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
IRL $13.01 -0.23%
RYAAY $65.96 -1.20%
AAPL $124.25 -0.14%
FB $81.66 -0.68%
GOOG $542.45 -1.00%


DOW 17,698.18 -77.94 -0.44%
S&P 500 2,059.69 -8.20 -0.40%
NASDAQ 4,880.2280 -20.6570 -0.42%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs