Your business week: Ralph Lauren, Alibaba, Walmart report; 3XE Digital conference

All the results, indicators and meetings happening in the week ahead

CSO data on residential prices for February showed a softening of prices in Dublin with year-on-year growth falling to 1.4 per cent. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

CSO data on residential prices for February showed a softening of prices in Dublin with year-on-year growth falling to 1.4 per cent. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto


Monday 13

Meetings: Ibec’s final European Parliament Political Debate for Dublin constituency (head office, Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2).

Tuesday 14

Results: DCC, Premier Foods, Ralph Lauren.

Meetings: Ibec Food Services Group meeting (Ibec, Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2).

Indicators: Irish agricultural prices (Mar); euro zone industrial production (Mar) and ZEW economic sentiment (May); British employment (Mar) and average earnings (Mar); German inflation (Apr); US redbook; Opec monthly oil production data.

Wednesday 15

Results: Alibaba Group.

Indicators: Irish exports and imports (Mar), residential property prices (Mar).

Meetings: Small Firms Association HR briefing: Navigating Contracts (SFA, Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2).

Indicators: Irish residential property price index (Mar) and exports/imports of goods (Mar); euro zone GDP growth (Q1) and employment change (Q1); US retail sales (Apr), capacity utilisation (Apr) and industrial production (Apr).

House prices affected by Brexit

The story of house prices – often a drawn out, repetitive one – is becoming increasingly interesting when viewed through the Brexit prism.

While the ups and downs of the UK’s departure efforts have quietened in recent weeks, the same cannot be said for the real estate market. In the United Kingdom, prices are subdued. In Ireland, although cooling, they remain on a stubbornly upward trajectory.

Central Statistics Office data on residential prices for February (March is due on Wednesday) showed a softening of prices in Dublin with year-on-year growth falling to 1.4 per cent. House prices rose just 1.1 per cent; and apartments by 1.8 per cent.

Despite this apparent deceleration, prices in the capital have now reached more than nine times the average salary. Meanwhile, equivalent data released in the UK continues to sound different alarm bells.

Nationwide Building Society recently reported in its monthly bulletin that prices grew by less than 1 per cent in April for the fifth month in a row, a pattern that, unlike Ireland, is playing very much in favour of first-time buyers who are still applying for mortgages.

“Clearly, Brexit uncertainty in the minds of homebuyers is still outweighing almost record low mortgage rates and employment numbers as well as improved affordability,” London estate agent Jeremy Leaf told The Guardian. “A glimmer of good news is that first-time buyers are taking advantage.”

Thursday 16

Results: Walmart.

Meetings: Inspirefest (Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin 2); 3XE Digital Marketing Conference (Croke Park, Dublin 3); Banking & Payments Federation (BPFI) Mortgage Conference (BPFI, One Molesworth Street, Dublin 2); Dublin Chamber’s Business Debate for Local Election 2019 (Dublin Chamber, Clare Street, Dublin 2).

Indicators: Irish new home completions (Q1); euro zone balance of trade (Q1); US Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index May).

Tech meets news at Inspirefest

As far as “tech meets news” goes, Inspirefest’s inclusion on its speaker line-up of Erika Cheung is quite the coup, one that brings a touch of corporate sizzle to this year’s event – its fifth (Dublin, Thursday and Friday).

Ms Cheung was one of the whistleblowers in the US Theranos scandal – the bogus US company that purported to revolutionise blood testing and which became the subject of a popular podcast “Dropout” with disgraced founder Elizabeth Holmes in the starring role.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Ms Holmes was the celebrity corporate titan who, having founded her now infamous medtech company at the age of 19, became a multi-billionaire before the illusion imploded.

It transpired that while Theranos promised to make blood testing quick, easy and mind-bogglingly efficient, the science was dubious, the results unreliable. The company’s collapse garnered widespread publicity as a cautionary tale of tech entrepreneurism gone wrong.

Having played her part in its exposure, Ms Cheung is now launching a non-profit “Ethics in Entrepreneurship” – risen from the Theranos ashes – providing resources and best practice guides to prepare entrepreneurs of the future.

Others among this year’s line-up include Anil Dash, entrepreneur, activist, writer and chief executive of Glitch; explorer Mark Pollock; human rights lawyer Simone George; New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly; and RTÉ director general Dee Forbes.

Friday 17

Meetings: 0100 Conference for VCs and private equity investors (Hotel Hilton, Charlemont Place, Dublin 2); International Fraud Prevention Conference (RDS, Dublin 4); Retail Ireland lunch (Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2); American Chamber annual dinner (Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin).

Indicators: euro zone construction output (Mar) and inflation rate (Apr); US Michigan sentiment survey (May).