Eq: Large Cap

(New York)

ESG has been on the rise. In its infancy, ESG was largely diminished to a niche sector, but increasingly large amounts of investor capital are flowing based on ESG considerations and clients are getting more and more focused on it. Now there is a new tool to score and rank mutual funds based on ESG factors. The tool is from As You Sow. It is still a work in progress, but is quite useful for getting an idea for where funds rank against one another.


FINSUM: This tool is still in development, but we could imagine that this could become quite useful as ESG is famously hard to grade.

(New York)

Most analysts and investors are quite bearish on the market at the moment despite the fact that the trade war is looking less worrying. That said, there is still a lot of indecision over where the market is headed. With that in mind, Barron’s is arguing that buying beat up but high-quality dividend stocks is a safe bet no matter which way the market heads. Here are five stocks to look at: UnitedHealth, food products company Ingredion, drug company Eli Lilly, Kohl’s, and Ralph Lauren.


FINSUM: There are a lot of different types of names here. We are most interested in Ralph Lauren, which is trading at a 25% discount to its historical valuation. The company is very healthy—easily covering its 3% dividend with earnings—and it it not facing the same headwinds as other retailers because it is mostly a wholesale business, meaning it is agnostic to the shift to online selling.

(New York)

There is serious trouble brewing in the riskiest corners of the debt market. The lowest rated group of corporate bonds have seen their yields rise for months as a host of factors are causing losses. Whether it be the switch to ecommerce, poor energy prices and renewables, or prescription drug regulations, companies across multiple sectors have been getting hammered. The problem is that the issues hurting these CCC rated companies are not just isolated to them, the move in sentiment and selling is spreading to the broader high yield and speculative loan market. More companies are being downgraded too, and default rates are picking up.


FINSUM: Rather than a panic, this is a broad-based and fundamental move away from risky debt. It may not lead to huge losses—yet—but expect spreads to keep rising.

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