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Investing Specialists

Weekly Wrap: Earth Day, Inflation Protection, and Retail REITs

We recap the week on and note the most popular stocks, funds, and exchange-traded funds.

Editor's note: Read the latest on how the coronavirus is rattling the markets and what investors can do to navigate it.

In a nod to Earth Day, we produced content this week focusing on climate-friendly stocks and climate-aware funds. We also took a look at the corporate connections behind deforestation.

But environmental factors are just one part of the “ESG” that’s changing how companies do business (and how some investors invest). Social and governance issues are a part of the conversation, too.

In fact, one of my favorite columnists anywhere, Morningstar’s own John Rekenthaler, has noted: “From the outset, the intention of ESG’s proponents was to create a comprehensive set of fiduciary principles that would replace the precept of shareholder value, as the single global standard.” Indeed, issues surrounding environmental, social, and governance factors pose material risks to many companies. And companies that ignore these risks may have a more difficult time generating long-term, sustainable profits.

As a result, ESG isn’t simply a feel-good concept that only matters to those who want to “invest with their values.” ESG considerations are trigging a seismic shift in corporate America and around the world--and the ripple effect will likely touch many of our portfolios, whether we consider ourselves ESG investors or not.

What better time than Earth Week to assess the sustainability of your investments and determine what ESG-related risks they face. And if you decide to develop a plan to better align your investments with your values, we have resources for you to do that, too.

--Susan Dziubinski

Editor's Picks
Special Report: Earth Week 2021
Environmental issues are altering how companies do business and where investors put their dollars. Here's how to effectively navigate the opportunities and risks.

How Retirees Should Think About Inflation in 2021
Here's what to do to defend your retirement portfolio against inflation over time.

Retail REITs Still a Buying Opportunity
We think the market misunderstands the ramifications of e-commerce.

Model Portfolios Strut Their Stuff
Learn how they differ from mutual funds.

Now's the Time to Consider This Inflation Protection Strategy
Diversified real assets can enhance a portfolio built for the long run.

Moderna's Innovation Still Building a Moat
The company's COVID-19 vaccine has shown the vast potential of its mRNA technology.

Portfolio Planning and Personal Finance With Christine Benz
ESG Mutual Fund Portfolios for Retirement Savers
Anchored in actively managed funds, these portfolios were developed with serious ESG investors in mind.

Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds
How We Think About Manager Changes
Why manager changes are different at Vanguard and T. Rowe Price.

Value Has Bounced Back, but It Might Be Too Soon to Call It a Comeback
Is it the end of a long, dark, cold winter?

Did Active Funds Finally Outperform in Temperamental 2020?
Our key takeaways from the new Active/Passive Barometer.

Push Into Crypto Triggers Downgrade for This Fund
Big changes diminish the appeal of Emerald Banking and Finance.

The Three Kings of the Music Industry Use Streaming to Stay in Power
Warner Music and other major labels are profiting from a medium they once tried to stop.

Why the Best Values Are Still Abroad
A long-term slump for international stocks means lower price tags.

Does International-Stock Diversification Still Work?
Correlations have trended up, but there's still a long-term argument for international diversification.

Is Apple a Growth Stock, a Value Stock, or Both?
Where the market’s largest stock lands can affect your returns.

We're Expecting Higher GDP Growth--And Higher Inflation Too
We've increased our U.S. GDP growth forecast.

3 Attractive Electric Vehicle Plays That Aren't Tesla These firms stand to benefit from increased adoption of electric vehicles--and they're undervalued.

Stock Analyst Updates
Solid Q1 at Coke, Yet No Changes to Fair Value Estimate
The strategic framework is intact following IPO plans at Coca-Cola Beverages Africa.

Summer Season Looks Promising for Cruise Lines
We are raising our fair value estimates for Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

IBM’s Q1 Sees Break From Mainframe Cyclicality
Market volatility and security concerns increased mainframe capacity needs, leading to nearly 50% year-over-year growth in the seventh quarter since the z15 model’s launch.

Rumors of Menthol, Nicotine Bans Are Risks, but Not New
We maintain our valuations and wide moat and negative trend ratings for the cigarette makers as reports have surfaced that the Biden administration is considering lowering the nicotine and menthol levels in cigarettes.

J&J Buoyed by Elective Procedures, Cancer Drug Sales
We don’t expect the COVID-19 vaccine sales to affect our fair value estimate.

Verizon Starts 2021 With a Yawn
We're not changing our $57 fair value estimate.

Why We Increased Our BioNTech Fair Value Estimate
Here is what our new COVID-19 vaccine forecast revealed about the no-moat company.

Rekenthaler Report
With Specialty Funds, Bigger Has Been Better
The leading funds have compensated for the group’s overall struggles.

From the Archives: Why Target-Date Funds Don't Resemble University Endowment Funds
Half the reason is legal, the other half is practical.

Advisor Insights
Map: How Countries’ Stock Markets Stack Up on ESG Practices and Carbon Risk
The U.S. profile is affected both by ESG leaders like Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway and names like Facebook,, and Johnson & Johnson facing ESG risks.

How to Help Clients With Their Post-Pandemic Spending and Savings Plans
Here are some ways to prolong the good financial habits developed over the past year.

Medicare Out-of-Pocket Costs: How Do Enrollees Get Protection?
Congress could mitigate inequities with some sensible Medicare program reforms, says Morningstar contributor Mark Miller.

The Case for Real DEI in Your Advisory Business
It takes more than just checking the boxes to see the benefits.

The Long View Podcast
Jason Hsu: China Is 'the Last Great Remaining Alpha Reservoir'
The founder and chairman of Rayliant Global Advisors discusses the promise and challenges of investing in China, machine learning, and the investor timing gap.

Vanguard's Joe Davis: 'Value Stocks Are Likely to Outperform Growth'
Vanguard's chief global economist on overvaluation in low-quality growth stocks and the potential catalysts for a renaissance in value names.

Sustainability Matters
How Can Climate-Aware Funds Fit Into Your Portfolio?
Our analysis shows how these funds stack up on specific climate-related metrics.

Let’s Not Leave Behind the S & G in ESG
Investors--and policymakers--should consider sustainability issues holistically.

The Short Answer
How to Find the Right ESG Fund
How to find a sustainable fund that addresses the issues you care about and works well in your portfolio.

Emerging Trends in U.S. Fund Flows Accelerate in March
U.S. value equity funds see record inflows in March.

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