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Men's ties

Men are more likely to wear ties if they are worried about their jobs and bricking it about the future. Latest stats from eBay.ie show that sales of men's ties jumped 29.3 per cent in the final quarter of the year. Skinny ties -- a la Louis Walsh -- are a real indicator of weak confidence: eBay.ie stats show that there are 4,532 skinny ties on sale out of a total of 48,509.

Are the words 'bond yield' and 'sustainable' able to be in the one sentence together again? The two-year note yield has seen an astonishing drop from 21 per cent in July to 5.21 per cent last week. The cute hoors at the NTMA pulled a slick manoeuvre by swapping some bonds so that they fall due a year later instead. Investors didn't break their sides laughing... and actually shelled out for them.

We're not even making a sound when you rattle us any more. The clink, clink of loose change in a pocket is a long-forgotten noise. All the money has gone to pay off Anglo bondholders. Even small purchases took a battering last week, with sales of cappuccino, lattes and Americanos at Insomnia falling 3.1 per cent compared with the same week last year.

Irish residential property prices tumbled by 1.7 per cent nationally in December, according to the CSO, bringing the annual fall to 16.7 per cent. That meant that house prices fell faster last year than in 2010 when the drop was just 10.5 per cent. Dublin prices fell 55 per cent compared with about 42 per cent everywhere else. Given that property prices are hot-wired into the bit of the brain that controls our purse strings, falls like this are only going to make us less jiggy with our money.

Since the ISEQ 20 hit a trough in November 2011, it's been going gangbusters since then. Investors and traders in shares are in agreement with their bond friends and feel happier that the Irish situation has improved over that time frame.

Such was the level of interest and quality in the competition this year, BT had to accommodate an extra 30 finalist places in the RDS. Some 1,743 ideas were articulated by Ireland's students in 354 schools across various sciences. These contestants are the graduates, researchers and innovators of tomorrow and upon their shoulders our future smart economy lies... unless they all bugger off to other countries.

So, it's all our fault then? Thanks a bunch, Enda. Nothing to do with the big French and German banks putting the squeeze on to make us cover their crazy landing practices? Nothing to do with the political system sitting idly by as mad tax breaks for the property sector were introduced? And nothing to do with the irresponsible economic policies that left us with a dysfunctional tax system and a deficit that we can't shoulder? Ireland's only listed recruitment company CPL Resources reported interim figures last week. Things are still difficult -- but buried in the small print was a positive trend. The number of permanent job placements has increased by 16.3 per cent compared with the same period last year.

After 45 consecutive months of retail sales declines, things were up in December. Hallelujah! CSO figures show the value of retail sales (excluding the motor trade) rose 1 per cent in December 2011 compared with December 2010. Hopefully people weren't just stocking up on shotgun pellets and tinned food, in case Greece and Portugal go down the plug hole.

Sunday Indo Business