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Thursday, 12 September 2019 12:00

A US-China Trade Deal Looks Likely


The US and China might be starting to realize that they really need each other. Each side is feeling the pain, and that is making a deal feel closer. China has seen a 47% rise in pork prices in the last year—a key form of disturbance to its population, and seems to want to resume importing US pork. Trump has just delayed a new round of tariffs as a measure of good faith before Washington and Beijing return to the negotiating table.

FINSUM: It is quite hard to ascertain the degree to which the US and China actually want to close a trade deal. China has grown so large and self-sufficient that it is big enough to get by on its own, which seems to lower its incentive to compromise. The US is in the same position.

Thursday, 12 September 2019 11:58

A Big Stock Worth a Big Bet

(New York)

One of the biggest stocks in the country is sitting relatively unloved and appears ready for an investment. That stock? Bank of America, only the biggest deposit holder in the US. The single most important thing to recognize about the bank is that is a well-run powerhouse commanded by the architect who rebuilt it after the Crisis—Brian Moynihan. The bank has a 2.46% dividend, which is looking sweeter every day. JP Morgan just went bullish on the stock, and if Moynihan sticks with the trend and boosts the dividend and adds buybacks, the future looks very bright.

FINSUM: There are some headwinds given the likelihood of falling rates, but that situation also tends to juice all stock prices, which provides some good downside cover.

Thursday, 12 September 2019 11:56

Where ESG Investing is Thriving

(New York)

If you asked almost anyone in the industry, the answer would be the same: it is Millennials with whom ESG investing is very popular, “we just can’t get older generations to care”. However, that is not exactly true. While Millennials get most of the credit for caring about socially-conscious investments, it is actually the generation above them, Gen X, which is doing the most ESG investing. A big part of this fact is down to the reality that Gen X is still richer than the younger Millennials. Millennials still win in terms of the overall percentage who buy ESG investments, but Gen X is seeing assets in ESG funds surge quickly. Gen X consists of anyone aged 39-54 years old.

FINSUM: This is a pretty interesting statistic and one that could be useful to some advisors who might be nervous to propose ESG options to those 50+. That said, the desire for ESG investing often comes from the client.


It honestly seems like it would have happened sooner given all the uproar over how “lenient” the new SEC best interest rule supposedly is. Nonetheless, now it has: the SEC has just had a suit filed against it by no less than seven states and the District of Columbia as part of an effort to block the rule. It is the first lawsuit filed against the new regulation and came from a group that included, California, Delaware, New Mexico, Oregon, Connecticut, Maine, and New York. The plaintiffs argue that the rule "undermines critical consumer protections for retail investors". One top lawyer in the space said “The day the release came out [about Reg BI], we figured the SEC would get sued, and here we are”.

FINSUM: Not much of a surprise here really, except maybe that the suit is coming from a pretty formidable group (and not just some random trade body). Get ready for a long period of legal limbo.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019 13:41

Value Stocks Might Be Making a Comeback

(New York)

It has been for around a decade that value stocks have been getting hammered by growth stocks. The rut has been so bad that many have given up on the discipline altogether. But recently, something has been changing. Momentum stocks, long the darling of this bull market, have started to lag their value-oriented peers. This change started last week and is continuing today, and follows the worst month for value stocks in at least 20 years (this past August).

FINSUM: This is an encouraging sign, but certainly is not enough to say “value stocks are back!”.

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