Over the last several months, inflation has become top of mind for investors, companies, policy makers, and consumers.
It is likely you have seen the acronyms “ESG” and “SRI” more frequently in financial literature over the past few years. As our society has increased its focus on environmental and social justice issues, investors and companies have, concurrently, directed their attention to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) matters and to Socially Responsible Investing (SRI).
A fitting adjective for the last year could be “volatile”: emotionally, politically, and, as it pertains to investors, financially and economically. While we are used to big swings in the stock market, we have never witnessed such rapid changes to the economy and the fundamental performance of businesses.
By David W. Scudder
Aureus Co-Founder David Scudder recently wrote a paper on the state of capitalism in the 21st century. Please click the link below to download a copy.
Over the past five years, the S&P 500 Index (or “stock market”) has become increasingly dominated by a handful of mega-cap technology companies. This new composition (and concentration) of the stock market has important implications for both active and passive investors, which we explore in this quarter’s Investment Perspectives.
One of the lasting lessons from the 2016 Presidential election is that polls and pundits can be wrong. While early, the 2020 election appears to be tilting in favor of the Democratic party – though, again, that would be relying on fallible polls and pundits. Regardless of the election outcome, we believe the current recession and pandemic response will lead to an expansion of government’s role in society, as it has with past major crises.
From an investment perspective, we are interested in exploring potential fundamental changes in policies, programs, and budgets that might accompany the election of one of the presidential candidates. In this piece we will look at three areas that may impact the investment landscape – taxes, trade, and government spending.
Over the past week, we have witnessed the market make a rapid about-face from “COVID-19 doesn’t matter”, to “COVID-19 might matter a lot.” This change of outlook has driven the market down ~11% on new fears of the coronavirus and its impact on global health and economies. The virus, which we were all unaware of a few months ago, represents a rare black swan event, now impacting world markets, economies, health care systems, government policymakers and individuals. While there is certainly plenty unknown about the virus and how it progresses from here, we would like to share some current thoughts.
In mid-August, the Business Roundtable, an influential trade group comprised of most of the largest US companies, announced that 181 of its CEO members had signed a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation. Given that the Roundtable last revised these articles over two decades ago, this shift attracted attention. The decision to update this statement reflects the growing expectation and demands by customers, employees, and influential institutional investors that businesses take on broader social responsibilities than has historically been the norm.
The initial public offerings (“IPOs”) of a few highly-recognizable businesses pushed the IPO market back into the headlines in 2Q19. Most notable among these were Uber and Lyft, two competing ridesharing businesses that are poster children for today’s “gig economy”. When IPO activity starts getting more media attention, it is often accompanied by suggestions that this must signal the end of an economic expansion as private company CEOs use a hot market to capitalize on the unsuspecting public’s desire for new issues. While it is true that IPOs usually occur during healthy economies, the cycle coincides more with strong markets because the reception of IPOs is anemic when the market is weak. In this piece we examine IPO volumes over the last 10 years and the state of the current new issue market.