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It’s report card time for corporate America – publicly traded firms are starting to announce how they performed in the first quarter, and analysts are pretty optimistic. If you’re tuning in, we have a guide to the jargon you’ll hear during earnings season. However, the overall financial market is still in a jittery place due to high inflation, rising interest rates, and fears of slowing economic growth. One day you may be up, convinced you’re an investing natural worthy of an office on Wall Street, and the next you may be staring at a screen filled with red flashing figures. Remember, panic selling has not been the ticket historically. Prepare in advance and ride out the volatility with a diversified portfolio and an emergency fund, knowing this too shall pass.
What does need everyone’s attention is our home (Mother 🌎). Since the 1970s, April 22nd has been Earth Day; the entire month is now known as Earth Month. What began as a small movement in Santa Barbara, California in response to air and water pollution is now an international celebration of the planet’s wonders, and a call to action in the face of climate change. And while the urgency of the challenges could not be clearer — this week alone saw the release of both a new IPCC report saying it’s “now or never” if we’re going to limit warming to 1.5 C and a White House report claiming climate change could cost the US $2 trillion each year by 2100 — it is important to keep the celebration of our natural world, and the progress toward a healthier planet front-and-center. The progress that is being made on so many fronts along with the economic opportunity that comes from the innovation, exciting new companies and corporate practices that we are seeing rolled out to fight climate change are extraordinary.
As an investor, your influence and impact can go beyond making green consumer choices. In your own small way, you can help shape the future by backing climate solutions that can build a healthier planet, rewarding the responsible actors with your investment, and using your shareholder vote to push companies to get on a track that aligns with your values.
We all bring our own values and lens to our investing. If being green is a priority for you, some initial steps to consider for Earth Month include: review what’s in your portfolio to confirm everything aligns with your values and goals (one way to analyze the fossil fuel exposure and carbon footprint of funds: Fossil Free Funds), seek out stocks that get you excited about going green (look for, and then verify, net-zero commitments as you do your research) and learn about your rights as a shareholder (voting on the many ESG proxy issues up this year is a great way to influence policy).
News You Can Use
- With mortgage interest rates nearing 5%, applications for new mortgages are down 9% and refinances are down 62% compared to last year. Analysts say the increased rates and limited housing stock available for purchase are impacting first-time home buyers particularly severely. Need a quick reminder on how the Federal Reserve’s actions are pushing interest rates up? FWIW’s got you covered.
- Shareholders assemble! It’s proxy season, and the SEC is allowing way more ESG shareholder proposals to go to vote this year. This is the policy shift the agency had promised, and it may be why there are 13% more ESG proposals (567) filed in 2022 than in 2021. Climate change is the top issue, followed by political influence/lobbying, human rights, work conditions, and diversity. Unfortunately, we’re also seeing the rise of anti-ESG proposals.
- Plenty of EV headlines this week – Rivian is on track with its production goals, GM and Honda are building a low-cost car, and we may be swapping batteries in the future rather than charging them. China’s NIO, the only automaker to offer battery-swapping, is reportedly in talks to license the technology to others and is expanding the service to Europe this year. Swapping a battery for a fully charged one takes about five minutes — much faster than the hour it can take to charge an empty one.