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You made it to Thursday!
Tension was high in the markets coming into this week. CNN warned us on Sunday with the headline “It’s Hell Week on Wall Street” — not exactly encouraging, but let’s remember that the media often hypes things up bigger than they are. Case in point: the headline about a “Jurassic-era insect” found at Walmart had us envisioning giant locusts descending on shoppers à la Jurassic World Dominion. (The actual picture was oddly comforting and disappointing.)
With that in mind, let’s consider how this week has actually played out versus the headline:
- Interest rate signals 🚦: In the most anticipated economic event of the week, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell testified in front of Congress. He did what everyone feared, signaling that the Fed may need to quicken the pace of its rate hikes to bring inflation back to its 2% target and reigniting recession fears. If there’s any comfort, remember that the end goal of high interest rates is to slow inflation, and we’d all like our grocery bills to stop climbing each time we shop.
- Market reactions 📉: Not surprisingly, Powell’s comments sent stocks into a tailspin as the reality set in that interest rates may remain higher for longer (BlackRock sees the potential for rates to reach as high as 6% and stay there for a while). Markets will likely remain jittery until the Fed’s next policy statement comes out on March 22.
- Lessons from the Oracle of Omaha 📖: To keep this week’s news in perspective, remember that long-term investors must weather ups and downs. Some of the key takeaways from Warren Buffet’s annual shareholder letter seem apropos at the moment — primarily, the advice to invest in businesses you believe in, then hold onto the stock and give it ample time to grow.
- UN ocean treaty : There’s been plenty happening outside of Wall Street, too, like the news that 200 nations have reached a historic agreement to safeguard and recuperate marine nature. BBC explains the treaty and why it’s so important for ocean life, and we have some ideas for incorporating sustainable seafood into your portfolio below.
What’s on deck for the rest of the week? We’ll be watching out for the Labor Department’s monthly employment report tomorrow and then heading to bed early so we’re ready to spring ahead on Sunday (remember to reset your clocks!)
Asking for a friend….
We know there is a lot to think about these days, and it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. To help with those nagging questions and so you have useful resources at your fingertips, here are few links to resources and past stories relevant in these turbulent times:
- FWIW’s Guide to Long-Term Investing
- Some of our favorite inflation-fighting strategies (and a few more)
- How to Research ESG Funds and Stocks
- FWIW Guide to Cleantech Investing: Sectors to Watch (covering over a dozen innovative sectors to anchor your research on sustainable investing options)
- How to Practice Faith-Based Investing
- “Siri, What Is a Recession?”
News you can use
- Vanguard clients are pressuring the firm to act more aggressively on climate. A letter backed by 1,400 customers charged Vanguard with a “breach of fiduciary duties” for ignoring climate risks. The asset manager recently quit the net-zero climate effort as the political debate around ESG heated up. Proxy season is approaching, and we’ll be following how Wall Street’s financial giants vote on ESG shareholder resolutions.
- Clorox, with its squeaky-clean image, won the top spot in Barron’s new ranking of America’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies. It was praised for its diversity, product safety, and progress in cutting plastic waste. Intel, Kimberly-Clark, CBRE Group, and Waters Corporation rounded out the top five. If you’re looking for more companies effectively balancing people, planet, and profit, As You Sow and Corporate Knights have updated their Carbon Clean 200 list of those leading the way on clean energy.
- If a tree falls and there’s no one around to hear it, do auditors greenwash? Yes, per a sweeping new global investigation. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has found that major environmental auditors and sustainability certification firms are granting green labels to products linked to deforestation, logging in conflict zones, human rights abuses, the use of false permits, and other wrongdoings with “alarming frequency.” You can read all the articles on the Deforestation Inc investigation to learn more.