Displaying items by tag: Blackrock
In an eye-opening “expose” type article, for CIO of Blackrock’s ESG division went on the record saying that ESG was largely just hype and had little substance behind it. According to former CIO Tariq Fancy, “In truth, sustainable investing boils down to little more than marketing hype, PR spin and disingenuous promises from the investment community”. The comments ran in USA Today on March 16th.
FINSUM: The reality is a little more complicated. ESG does suffer from a great deal of greenwashing, and firms—at first—did little to genuinely integrate ESG into their decision-making. Over time, they have taken greater account of real ESG factors in investment selection, but at the same time much of what constitutes “ESG” and “green investment” is muddled and unclear. There is a reporting issue that the whole industry suffers from—there is not enough data to separate good from bad companies—and thus much of the investment selection gets generalized according to industries (e.g. tech is good, energy is bad), which is so broad as to be almost useless.
For a lot of people, BlackRock brings two things to mind: fixed income and ETFs. Therefore, the firm making a bold call about a handful of single name stocks comes as somewhat of a surprise. However, BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the world and is also a leader in equities. The call they are making today is that big tech companies are looking strong and likely to keep seeing price expansion. On the one hand, this is a very easy call to make given tech stocks have been soaring, but on the other, it is somewhat of an interesting and risky call because many fear FAANGs can really only go down in the short-term. BlackRock says that the cash flow producing abilities of tech companies (a factor proven to be vital in this downturn) will be critical to their continued success.
FINSUM: There might be some short-term tailwinds, but in our view, big tech companies are going to keep moving higher because this crisis has created a huge opportunity to grab market share as more of life moves online.
Despite all the worries that plagued the market this year, things have actually been very strong. Exceedingly so. But don’t expect that any longer, says Blackrock. The world’s largest asset manager expects returns in 2020 to come way down. The firm says that the big changes in monetary policy this year outweighed the geopolitical issues and caused huge returns, which won’t happen next year. Blackrock thinks returns in the mid single digits in 2020 seem realistic.
FINSUM: This is sort of a middle of the road call in terms of forecasted numbers, but we like the summary of what happened this year and how next year’s performance is not likely to be duplicated.
This is a tricky environment for income investing. On the one hand, rising rates generally mean better yields, but at the same time, the chance of rate-driven losses is high. What if investors wanted to get safe 5% yields? Doing so is a little bit tricky and requires a blend of riskier credit and a mix of durations. However, investors can get pretty close with some individual ETFs. For instance, BlackRock’s iBoxx $ Investment Grade Bond ETF yields 4.39% and has shorter dated maturities with comparable credit quality to other funds.
FINSUM: This seems like a good choice, but there are also a number of rate hedged ETFs that have similar yields and almost no interest rate risk.
Here is a mundane but important question: what is the best single fund to track the whole market? There is now a wealth of options, from Fidelity’s free index tracker all the way to popular, but more costly SPY. The answer to this question is not as straightforward as one might think, as each of the funds has its own characteristics. For instance, while Vanguard’s VTI is popular, it has a quirky structure that can boost unrealized gains. It is also harder to trade without fees. Fidelity’s zero fee index mutual fund is a good choice, but only available on its own platform. Blackrock’s ITOT might be the best choice overall when considering fees, performance, and availability.
FINSUM: For being considered “vanilla”, there certainly are a lot of different flavors of index tracker these days.