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This Land Is Your Land

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Happy (early) Fourth of July!

We know it has been quite the crazy past few weeks — not only on the economic and financial side of the street — and none of us needs any more stress right now. But it is worth noting that this Independence Day doesn’t just mark a breather for our US readers, it also means that we’re at the halfway mark of 2022. Most portfolios are looking worse for wear due to rising interest rates, lots of news about inflation, and recession fears; although fossil fuel stocks have been a bright spot during the bear market, many climate-conscious investors may have missed out on these gains. As you know, FWIW likes to keep its eye on the long-term. While the market may be taking a record beating this year — the S&P 500 is down 20%, on track for its worst first-half performance since 1970 — history shows that it always, always bounces back eventually.

There are few bright spots: we have seen some sectors showing signs of bouncing back from their previous pandemic lows, including travel (don’t get us started on the number of stories we read this week about the challenges of holiday travel…), live music, and cinema-going, as we see some return to normalcy.

Americans are preparing to fire up the grill with friends and family this weekend, and, if you are one of them, there’s a good chance you’ll see chicken, fish, or plant-based meat on the menu. More than half of those planning a July Fourth gathering say they’re likely to buy these alternatives to the traditional fare because they’re cheaper (51%), healthier (50%), and better for the environment (22%). Consulting firm Kearney has also noted the emergence of “Climavores,” who switch up their protein sources for the sake of the environment rather than going fully vegetarian or vegan — for example, buying more chicken than beef or more soy products than pork. (Click here for the best-to-worst proteins for the climate.)

Despite these positive indicators and tons of hype, plant-based meat companies like Beyond Meat are still struggling to stand out in a very crowded sector and deliver the sales numbers investors were expecting. If you’re looking to bet on this area right now, be(ef) careful.

News you can use

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  • Apple’s iPhone turns 15 this week and CRISPR turns 10. While very different, both have had a profound impact on most of our lives. Here are two pieces that provide perspective on the roles the iPhone and CRISPR play in our society. And, of course, to get the definitive insider view, you can always turn to Walter Isaacson’s books — Steve Jobs and The Code Breaker.
  • Growth stocks? In this economy? Finding ESG funds that tilt towards value instead of growth is difficult, but not impossible. As more investors are looking to adjust their portfolios, Morningstar found 17 ESG large-value funds and 25 ESG large-blend funds that range from style-neutral to value-leaning, including Calvert US Large Cap Value Responsible Index (CFJIX), Nuveen ESG Large-Cap Value ETF (NULV), DFA US Sustainability Core (DFSIX), and Pax US Sustainable Economy (PXWGX).

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