Broker Check

Market Trends to Watch

December 23, 2019

The investment world is like the weather: constantly changing. Financial vehicles are tweaked and improved upon, particularly when there are changes to tax law or compliance rules. The world of finance is fluid, and so are we. As our lives evolve, it’s important to review and sometimes make adjustments to our investment and insurance goals and strategies.

The difficult part can be keeping up with all the changes. We believe one of the best ways to do that is to work with a financial advisor and meet with him or her regularly. At least once a year, it’s good to review your current situation, find out what changes or new products are available, and determine if you should make any alterations to your financial portfolio. Contact us if you are interested in such a consultation.

Following is a roundup of news and timely reminders from the investment industry.

Impact Investing

What may have started as an environmentalist movement to effect change by tapping invested assets, the sustainable investment industry has grown into a mainstream strategy. The share of assets invested in funds focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues increased 40% from 2000 to 2017.1

This is no longer simply a “do-gooder” motivation. Studies have revealed that companies focused on environmental efficiency — meaning they minimize the use of natural resources and generate less production waste — tend to enjoy economic advantages over less environmentally sensitive competitors. These advantages can include lower costs; higher flexibility and efficiency in their supply chains; increased productivity; reduced regulatory risk; and fewer costly fines, recalls or mitigation requirements. As a result, recent studies found, the stocks of these companies tended to be less volatile — particularly in manufacturing and other resource-intensive industries.2

E-Commerce Update

Online sales are starting to have a more profound effect in some sectors of the investment market. For example, in 2018, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the top apparel retailer in the United States, claiming more than 9% of the market. But not all traditional retailers have been hit as hard by e-commerce; for example, some investment analysts say retailers like QVC and those in the business‑to‑business e-commerce market — notably in the home improvement and auto parts industries — remain competitive because they are more insulated from Amazon or other online competitors. 3

And there’s another angle to consider with e-commerce. While we normally associate online retailers with low overhead, overall the industry requires three times the warehouse space of primarily brick‑and‑mortar retailers. In turn, this has created opportunities in the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) market that focuses on commercial properties.4

Investment trends

According to Bank of America, some of the economic and societal changes to watch over the next 10 years include:5

  1. More disruptions in the global flow of goods, ultimately leading to a rebalancing that will increase productivity and lead to a more sustainable global economy
  2. A focus on high-quality companies in sectors with low political risk, such as utilities, national defense, waste management, data processing and payments, and global beverages
  3. Markets responding to demographic shifts, such as the rise of the middle class in emerging market countries and millennials’ preference for tech compatibility and sustainability
  4. Continued growth of energy-efficient, renewable, sustainable and green initiatives


Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

1  Merrill Lynch. Sept. 10, 2019. “Can You Do Well by Investing in What’s Good for the World?” Accessed Nov. 13, 2019.

2  Merrill Lynch. June 2019. “Investing in a Low Carbon Economy.” Accessed Nov. 13, 2019.

3  T. Rowe Price. Oct. 4, 2019. “E-commerce Disrupts Retail-Related Bonds.” Accessed Nov. 13, 2019.


5  Pippa Stevens. CNBC. Nov. 11, 2019. “Here are Bank of America’s top 10 investing themes to watch over the next decade.” Accessed Nov. 13, 2019.