BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, will make climate change central to its investment decisions.
Founder and CEO Laurence Fink, who oversees the management of about $7 trillion in funds, said in his influential annual letter to CEOs Tuesday that he believes we are “on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance” because of a warming planet.
Climate change has become the top issue raised by clients, Fink said, and will affect everything from municipal bonds to long-term mortgages for homes.
The New York firm is taking immediate action, exiting investments in coal used to generate power, and it will begin asking clients to disclose their climate-related risks.
“Because capital markets pull future risk forward, we will see changes in capital allocation more quickly than we see changes to the climate itself,” Fink wrote in the letter. “In the near future — and sooner than most anticipate — there will be a significant reallocation of capital.”
That shift is already underway.
Investors poured $20.6 billion into sustainable funds last year, nearly quadrupling the record it had set a year earlier, according to Morningstar. The industry has broadened in recent years, after starting with simple funds that bluntly excluded stocks deemed as harmful, such as gun makers or tobacco stocks.
Investors, particularly younger ones, increasingly say they want their money invested with an eye toward sustainability. Fearful of losing out on those dollars — and the fees that they produce — investment companies are rushing to meet the surging demand.
Fund managers increasingly say they consider environmental, social and governance issues in their broad investment strategy. It’s known as “ESG” investing in the industry, and it means fund managers measure a company’s performance on the environment and other sustainability issues along with its bottom-line financials when choosing which stocks to own.
ESG funds say such an approach can help investors’ returns, rather than just their consciences, because it can help avoid risky companies, and the big losses they may have ahead of them in the future. Companies with poor records on the environment are more likely to face big fines, for example.
The European Union plans to dedicate a quarter of its budget to tackling climate change and has set up a scheme to shift 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in investment towards making the economy more environmentally friendly over the next 10 years.
The Europe Investment Plan, to be unveiled Tuesday, will be funded by the EU budget and the private sector. It aims to deliver on European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s Green Deal to make the bloc the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.
The shift by BlackRock is substantial. The firm has long been a target of environmental activists who have staged protests outside of its headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. It has been hounded by some members of Congress who believe BlackRock could better address climate change with its vast economic heft.
Because of its size and reach, any shift in focus by BlackRock has the potential for much wider ramifications. The firm has operations in dozens of countries and is often called the world’s largest shadow bank.
“Over time, companies and countries that do not respond to stakeholders and address sustainability risks will encounter growing skepticism from the markets, and in turn, a higher cost of capital,” Fink wrote. “Companies and countries that champion transparency and demonstrate their responsiveness to stakeholders, by contrast, will attract investment more effectively, including higher-quality, more patient capital.”
(Reuters) – Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc soared 15% in early trade on Friday, after the premium apparel retailer defied investor worries with a full-year outlook lift amid little pullback from consumers and a sharp rebound in China sales.
The rosy outlook comes in contrast to the general trend of U.S. retailers ranging from Macy’s to Dollar General warning of weak discretionary spending by American consumers.
At least 11 brokerages raised price targets on the company, with Piper Sandler hiking by the highest margin to $445, above the median of $424.
“We think (Lululemon) is one of the select brands continuing to drive outsized demand in this more challenging macro environment with innovation and newness,” said Abbie Zvejnieks, analyst at Piper Sandler.
Lululemon’s first-quarter results also beat estimates as the company saw traffic across both its stores and online go up about 30%.
“Lululemon’s stores continue to be a key catalyst for customer retention and acquisition,” analysts at TD Cowen wrote in a note.
The company also reported a 79% rise in sales in China, bolstered by the rollback of COVID restrictions. Lululemon’s exposure to China could be “a solid source of sales and margin upside for the rest of the year,” analysts at Barclays wrote in a note.
A loyal customer base has also given the company a leg up, helping it sell more of its popular products, such as the Align high-rise yoga pants which retails between $98 and $118, at full price, even amid an uncertain economy.
“Lululemon is just very popular right now and seems to be immune from the slowing trend,” David Swartz, an analyst at Morningstar Research said.
The company’s strong results also lifted shares of other athletic wear makers including Nike Inc and Athleta owner Gap Inc by 4% and 3%, respectively. Shares of European sportswear companies Adidas and Puma were also up.
(Reporting by Savyata Mishra and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)
Oil prices were trading up on Friday afternoon as shorters got a little nervous heading into the OPEC+ weekend, with new rumors circulating about the group’s discussions about another 1 million bpd in production cuts.
The OPEC+ group is scheduled for three separate meetings beginning this weekend and concluding on June 4. While the general sentiment has been that the group will keep the status quo as far as production targets are concerned. But Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister has made boistrous threats against oil’s speculators in the runup to the meeting, saying that shorters will be “ouching”.
On Thursday, Reuters suggested that the OPEC+ group would be unlikely to deepen its production targets at the meeting this weekend. But late on Friday, Reuters suggested that OPEC+ was indeed discussing an additional output cut of around 1 million barrels “among possible options” for the meeting on June 4.
Crude oil prices were already trading up ahead of the meeting, but increased even more in the afternoon hours, bringing Brent crude to $76.32 at 4:20 p.m., a $2.06 per barrel increase on the day. WTI was trading at $71.90 per barrel at that time.
The OPEC meeting will begin at 1 pm Vienna time tomorrow, with OPEC+ meeting on Sunday.
The latest price hike could prompt OPEC+ to keep production targets the same. But Saudi Arabia appears to still be in control of OPEC+, and he could decide to make good on his threats to punish short sellers for their speculative trades that fly in the face of market fundamentals.
“I keep advising them (referencing oil speculators) that they will be ouching, they did ouch in April, I don’t have to show my cards. I am not a poker player…but I would just tell them watch out,” Saudi’s energy minister said late last month in the runup to the meeting.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:
Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.
An airline consumer advocate says Air Canada should face tougher consequences for stranding passengers after two disruptions in a week.
Gábor Lukács, president of Air Passenger Rights, said Canadian airlines such as Air Canada currently don’t face enough consequences from the government each time they delay or cancel a flight.
“It feels like the airlines just have a free pass,” Lukasc told CTVNews.ca in an interview Friday.
Air Canada’s operations were jolted not once but twice in a span of seven days, impacting over 670 flights combined. On May 25, 241 Air Canada flights were delayed, and 19 were cancelled. This past Thursday, 362 flights were delayed and 48 cancelled, according to tracking service FlightAware.com.
Air Canada said the recently implemented system used to communicate with aircraft and monitor the performance of its operations was having technical problems.
In a statement to CTVNews.ca yesterday, the airline confirmed that both incidents occurred in the same system but were unrelated.
Currently, a traveller is entitled to between $125 and $1,000 in compensation for delays up to three hours or more, unless the disruption is a result of events beyond the airline’s control.
However, Lukács said he believes Air Canada is gatekeeping what really happened so they don’t have to pay passengers compensation.
“I’m confident that this is within the airline’s control,” Lukasc said.
Air Canada said no one was available for an interview on Friday.
By Friday afternoon, the Montreal-based airline told CTVNews.ca through an email statement the communicator system was stabilized and “it is functioning normally.”
However, “due to the effects of Thursday’s IT issues on our schedule, some flights may be delayed this morning as we reposition aircraft and crew,” Air Canada said.
There were 164 Air Canada flights, or 30 per cent of the airline’s scheduled load, had been delayed Friday as of 6:00 p.m. EDT, along with 36 cancellations, as seen on FlightAware.
Additionally, Air Canada Rouge had 62 flights delayed and 25 cancellations.
“That’s absurd, especially for a massive huge airline like Air Canada,” said Lukács.
A spokesperson for Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the ministry has been in touch with Air Canada since the situation began, but did not confirm whether the airline could face any consequences, including fines.
“We expect all air carriers, including Air Canada, to uphold their obligations to keep passengers safe and protect their rights, and ensure all delays and cancellations are mitigated as soon as possible,” Alghabra’s office said in an email statement sent to CTVNews.ca on Friday.