Some of the best food funds and water stocks. Tim Nash analyzes whether Apple is superior to Samsung in manufacturing sustainability and investment returns. Another two reviews of the top ESG and climate ETFs and solar stocks. Concerned about gun stocks in your funds? Zacks analyst Nitish Marwah has found three funds without them. More
PODCAST: Best Food Funds, Water Stocks, and Much More!
Transcript & Links October 25, 2019
Hello, Ron Robins here. Welcome to my podcast Ethical & Sustainable Investing News to Profit By! for October 25, 2019—presented by Investing for the Soul. investingforthesoul.com is your site for vital global ethical and sustainable investing news, commentary, information, and resources.
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Also, you can find a full transcript, live links to content, and often bonus material to these podcasts at their episodes’ podcast page located at investingforthesoul.com/podcasts.
Now to this podcast!
Best Food Funds
Now we’re all concerned about our own health and that of the environment, and so many of us wonder what are the best food funds and water-related investments. Well, regarding sustainable food, Maria Lettini, writes about three of the best food funds in an article titled, Three funds tapping into sustainable food trends that appear on the Portfolio Advisor site.
By the way, Maria Lettini is executive director of the Fairr Initiative, a well regarded global investor network raising awareness of ESG risks and opportunities around intensive livestock production. So, she what the best food funds are!
The first fund she writes about is RobecoSAM’s Sustainable Food Equities fund (ROBAGED: LX). She says, that, “This fund invests in potential solutions to the major environmental and social challenges facing the food sector.” End quote.
The second fund is Pictet’s Nutrition fund (PFAGRIR: LX). In describing the fund, Ms. Lettini remarks that “This fund invests in companies that are developing solutions to help secure the world’s food supply.” End quote.
The third fund, BNP Paribas’ Smart Food fund (PASMFPR: LX). Commenting on this fund, she says, that, “This fund invests in food companies that conduct a significant proportion of their business in the food supply chain and meet sustainability criteria related to issues such as carbon emissions and nutritional content.” End quote.
Incidentally, investment in these funds may not be available for purchase in some countries.
Also, for a good overview of plant-based protein food manufacturers, David Yaffe-Bellany has written an excellent article in The New York Times, titled, The New Makers of Plant-Based Meat? Big Meat Companies.
Regarding companies engaged in sustainable water resources, Olivia Raimonde, writing for CNBC in a post titled, Money from socially responsible investors flows into US water stocks, discusses her three top related stocks.
The first stock she covers is Aqua America (WTR: NYSE) which she says is “up about 33% in 2019”. Though she doesn’t say much more than that about the company.
Her second stock is American States Water Co. (AWR: NYSE), She writes about it saying that “If an environmentally-minded fund genuinely wanted to invest based on water scarcity… [then this] is the most sensible investment as the company is based in California, which has been stricken by drought for years.” She adds that its stock price is, “up about 38% percent in 2019.”
Ms. Raimonde’s last stock pick is American Water Works (AWK: NYSE) which she says, “has always operated with sustainability principles in mind (and) performs slightly better than its peers in ESG ratings… The New Jersey-based company implemented a more comprehensive ESG strategy about two and a half years ago… Its stock is up about 35% in 2019.” End quote.
Hey, when you look down on your smartphone do you ever wonder if it was manufactured sustainably and whether the company making them is a good ethical investment? Well, Tim Nash in his frequent stock showdown column on Corporate Knights compares Apple (NASDAQ: APPL) and Samsung’s (OTC: SSNLF) phone manufacturing – and how these companies’ rate overall on their sustainability and stock price performance.
Comparing the companies, Mr. Nash states that, “Sustainability-wise, while Samsung may have been ahead of the curve ten years ago, it’s starting to fall behind on a few fronts. Meanwhile, Apple still has more to do, but it’s been more aggressive about some of its environmental goals. I would consider the companies tied for now but it won’t be long before Apple takes the lead if it continues on the current trajectory.
From a financial perspective, it’s a bit of a toss-up. Both companies have performed well over the past five years with more potential growth as new innovations emerge that keep consumers lining up for product launches.” End quote.
ESG ETFs are hot and I’m going to reference two new articles that each recommend seven ESG ETFs. Now, I don’t have time to quote these articles on each of their recommended funds, so for the links to these articles and fund ticker symbols, go to this podcast page at investingforthesoul.com/podcasts and scroll down to this edition.
The first article is titled, 7 ESG ETFs to Buy for Responsible Profits by Will Ashworth on the Kiplinger investment site. Mr. Ashworth suggests, Xtrackers MSCI USA ESG Leaders Equity ETF (NYSEARCA: USSG), Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF (VSGX: US), iShares ESG MSCI EM ETF (NASDAQ: ESGE), Nuveen ESG Small-Cap ETF (BATS: NUSC), Impact Shares YWCA Women’s Empowerment ETF (NYSEARCA: WOMN), Columbia Sustainable International Equity Income ETF (NYSEARCA: ESGN), and iShares ESG U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (NYSEARCA: EAGG).
The second article, titled, 7 Great ETFs to Invest in Climate Change, is by Jeff Reeves at USA Today. His recommendations are: Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF (NYSEARCA: PBW), iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (NASDAQGS: ICLN), Invesco Solar ETF (NYSEARCA: TAN), First Trust ISE Global Wind Energy Index Fund (NYSEARCA: FAN), Invesco Cleantech ETF (NYSEARCA: PZD), SPDR MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF (NYSEARCA: LOWC), and finally the Invesco Water Resources ETF (NASDAQGS: PHO).
I’ve covered many analysts in past podcast episodes who’ve recommended solar stocks. So, I was hesitant to include more solar stocks this time. However, when I saw the stocks referred to by Larry Ramer in an article titled, 3 Solar Stocks to Buy for a New Day in Solar Energy on the Investorplace site, I see he added two new companies not previously covered in these podcasts. They are JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS) and Daqo New Energy (NYSE: DQ).
On JinkoSolar, Mr. Ramer writes that “As of the end of the second quarter, the holders of JKS stock include… Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and UBS (NYSE: UBS).” End quote. Thus, inferring that with such large institutions believing in the company – that you might want to too.
And on Daqo New Energy, he comments that “Like JinkoSolar, Daqo New Energy is likely to benefit from the relative cheapness of solar energy in China… [and]… As of June, many Wall Street heavyweights held meaningful amounts of DQ stock.” End quote.
His third pick is Sunpower (NASDAQ: SPWR) – which has been recommended by analysts in many of my past episodes. Mr. Ramer says, “SunPower stock should benefit from four strong trends that are boosting solar energy in the U.S.” End quote.
Mr. Ramer’s final comment is that “all three names are very cheap.” End quote.
With all the concerns around gun violence in many countries, some ethical and sustainable investors would like to invest in funds that don’t have gun-related stocks in them. However, to find such funds is an arduous endeavor. Making it simple for you is Nitish Marwah in a Zack’s article titled, 3 Weapon-Free Funds Socially Responsible Investors Can Buy.
The first fund Mr. Marwah writes about is the Parnassus Core Equity Fund Investor Shares (PRBLX). Commenting on this fund he says, that “PRBLX invests in large-cap companies which have long-term competitive advantage and positive performance on ESG criteria… PRBLX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 and has an annual expense ratio of 0.87%. The fund has three and five-year returns of 13.5% and 10.8%, respectively.” End quote.
His next fund is the Green Century Balanced Fund (GCBLX). Quoting him, he says that, it “seeks appreciation of both capital and income by investing in a diverse portfolio of stocks and bonds which meet standards for corporate environmental responsibility set by Green Century… GCBLX carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #2 and has an annual expense ratio of 1.48%. The fund has three and five-year returns of 8.9% and 6.8%, respectively.” End Quote.
His third and final fund is the Parnassus Fund (PARNX) which Mr. Marwah says, “seeks appreciation of capital by investing in undervalued stocks… The fund invests in companies of any size across different market capitalizations. [and] carries a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of  and has an annual expense ratio of 0.85%. The fund has three and five-year returns of 10.6% and 9.5%, respectively.”
So, these are my top news stories and tips for ethical and sustainable investors over the past two weeks.
Again, to get all the links or to read the transcript of this podcast and sometimes get additional information too, please go to investingforthesoul.com/podcasts and scroll down to this episode.
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Come again! And my next podcast is scheduled for November 8. See you then. Bye for now.
© 2019 Ron Robins, Investing for the Soul.