The annual 'beat the monkey' share-tipping competition
Can our top team of celebrities provide better returns than a random selection of stocks, asks Louise McBride
IT'S that time of year again when we ask celebrities and well-known stock pickers to pitch their business acumen against a blindfolded monkey. If he's in luck, the monkey wins €1,000 for his favourite charity. If not, his top opponent does.
It's a simple game. The monkey throws six darts at a board with stocks on it. The celebrities then take their bets on the six stocks they expect to do best in 2014. After a year, we find out whose stocks have done best. The winner gets €1,000 from Paddy Power for a charity of their choice.
The competition begins with prices quoted on the stock market on January 1, 2014, and ends in the run up to Christmas 2014.
The monkey's six darts land on the housebuilder Abbey; Datalex; the insurer FBD; fruit suppliers Fyffes; insulation company Kingspan; and the airline Ryanair.
Kerry-based artist Pauline Bewick believes in investing in "things of the heart". So when picking her stock tips for the new year, the artist concentrated on companies she believes are "morally good".
Bewick's first stock tip for 2014 is the insulation maker Kingspan, followed by the paper packaging group Smurfit Kappa. "I'm all for saving energy," said Bewick. "As for Smurfit, my mother invested in cardboard and it seems morally right."
Bewick's third choice is FBD -- primarily because it looks after the insurance of a lot of farmers. "Farmers are the most important people on the planet," said Bewick.
Next in line is the Irish Continental Group, which owns Irish Ferries. "It's a wonderful opening for human beings to travel," said Bewick.
The artist's final share tips are the recruitment agency CPL and the banana supplier, Fyffes.
Bewick's charity of choice is One Family.
As presenter of The Last Word on Today FM, Matt Cooper certainly hears what's happening on the ground -- so his share tips are worth listening to.
Ryanair is his first pick, followed by Paddy Power.
"Michael O'Leary seems to have confused some investors with his new touchy feely approach during 2013," said Cooper.
'Michael O'Leary seems to have confused some investors with his new touchy feely approach'
"I believe there's a strategy there that investors have to appreciate fully as yet. I've had reason to interact with Paddy Power's management in recent times and they are an impressive bunch who have a tendency to see things in ways others don't -- to great profit."
INM also gets the thumbs up from Matt, as do the cheesemakers Glanbia. The presenter's final votes go to the insulation company Kingspan and oil and gas explorer Providence Resources.
"If you believe there is going to be any pick up in Irish construction activity for 2014 then Kingspan provides some exposure to that," he said.
Cooper nominated Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin to get the €1,000 prize, should he win.
Award-winning chef Neven Maguire, who recently opened his own cookery school, certainly knows how to serve up tasty and nutritious meals.
We managed to nab the busy chef in the run-up to Christmas to see what kind of shares he thinks have the best ingredients for success in 2014. Not surprisingly, Glanbia gets Maguire's first vote. "Irish food plays a huge part in Ireland's economy and our dairy produce is famed worldwide," said Maguire.
The chef's second vote goes to INM.
Maguire's third choice is Paddy Power followed by the Guinness maker, Diageo.
The airlines, Aer Lingus and Ryanair, get Maguire's final votes. "Aer Lingus have carried me in style and always looked after me on my last couple of trips to the States," said Maguire. "As for Ryanair, I love travelling at great value and having more to spend on great food in restaurants."
Neven's charity of choice is the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.
Young Dublin comedian Al Porter took time out of his busy rehearsing schedule for the Olympia Theatre's Christmas panto to give us his stock tips for 2014. Porter, who stars as Nurse Polly in Beauty and the Beast, first chose Fyffes. "I think Fyffes will do well in the new year because people are becoming very health conscious," said Porter.
Porter's second choice is Tesco. "I expect they'll do something huge next year to stay ahead in the supermarket game," said Porter.
Ryanair also gets Porter's vote as does the company behind Donegal Creameries, The Donegal Investment Group. "I like Donegal and I used to go to the Gaeltacht there as a kid," said Porter.
Porter's final stock tips are FBD and the drinks group, C&C. "I think C&C's Magners campaign is very strong," said Porter.
Porter's charity of choice is Alone.
Jockey and trainer
Champion jockey and trainer Johnny Murtagh took time away from the field just before Christmas to tell us which shares he expects to be the champs of the stock market in the new year.
Murtagh chose Smurfit Kappa for his first stock tip. "Tony Smurfit owns one of the horses I train and he says things are looking good for 2014," said Murtagh.
Next stop is the bookmaker, Paddy Power. "Betting is always on the up," said Murtagh.
Ryanair also gets Murtagh's vote. "Ryanair have always been a good value for money company," said Murtagh. "They have also become nicer recently -- with their changes to hefty baggage charges and strict baggage rules."
The buildings materials group, CRH, is the Meath jockey's fourth stock tip. "It looks as though Ireland will start construction work again soon so demand will be strong," said Murtagh.
Glanbia also get Murtagh's vote as does the company behind Denny sausages and Dairygold butter, the Kerry Group.
Murtagh's charity of choice is the Jockeys' Emergency Fund.
LAST YEAR'S WINNER: Ramona Nicholas
The star of Dragons' Den, Ramona Nicholas knows a thing or two about shares. Most of the shares chosen by the co-founder of the pharmacy chain, Cara Pharmacy, either doubled -- or almost doubled -- in value over the last year.
Nicholas's six stock tips for 2013 were Bank of Ireland, Tesco, UTV Media, the pharmaceutical giant Elan,
Donegal Creameries and the capital market consultants First Derivatives.
Ramona's stock tips for 2014 are the Donegal Investment Group (the company behind Donegal Creameries), Glanbia, Aer Lingus, Kerry Group, Diageo, and UTV Media.
"Donegal Creameries are extremely well managed, versatile and adapt to meet consumer needs at all times," says Nicholas.
"Glanbia has done extremely well this year -- and I'm sure this will follow into 2014. And I see Aer Lingus as a company that is adapting well to the economic climate."
Nicholas's charity of choice, Autism Ireland, will be getting €1,000 from Paddy Power.