WSJ Wealth Adviser Briefing: Big Pharma Checkup, Reviving Zombie Brands, High-End Purchasing

Shaun H. Ruff

Yields are close to as low as they have ever been. Should you be loading up on debt to pour into stocks, property and other things that might produce a return above the cost of repaying the loan? One notable investor shows how getting everything right can deliver fat returns—but still come with a hefty drawback.

Below, some of the best analysis and insight from WSJ writers and columnists, the Dow Jones Newswires team and occasionally beyond, on investing, the wealth-management business and more.


New Business Owners Look Beyond Covid-19, and Winter: Entrepreneurs seize deals, see opportunity in crisis.


Big Pharma Passes Its Annual Checkup:  Big pharma is expecting a healthy 2021. Importantly for investors, that bright future doesn’t necessarily depend on the course of the coronavirus pandemic.


From Dow Jones Newswires

If they improve their environmental profiles, waste management companies could draw up to $67 billion from environmental, social and governance investment managers, translating into a 50% stock upside assuming the investment managers increase their allocation to the industry by around 50 basis points, Jefferies analysts say. “Landfills get a bad rap, which we think is undeserved as environmental services companies do not create the waste but rather process it in an environmentally sustainable way,” the analysts say. “They are in fact more environmentally friendly than most perceive through their use of gas capture, carbon sequestration, and other forms of renewable energy.” ([email protected]; @dieterholger

BNP Paribas says its Energy Transition fund has seen increased demand from clients that want to make money investing in companies that engage in the energy transition. It says the fund has exceeded EUR1.5 billion in assets and returned more than 130% so far this year compared to a 4.97% return for the MSCI AC World index. “We expect the strong growth opportunities that we have seen recently to remain… as companies that offer environmental solutions to accelerate the energy transition are encouraged by the pace of regulatory change and the increasing profitability of renewables,” says fund co-manager Edward Lees. He says the areas offering such opportunities include green hydrogen and fuel cells that have benefited from the EU and China’s environmental policies. ([email protected])


Rising U.K. House Prices Drive Mortgage Surge for Banks:  A surge in mortgage loans is proving to be a bright spot for British lenders, as the housing market shrugs off the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about the country’s exit from the European Union.

Back From the Brink: Buyers Snatch Up Moribund Brands for a Second Life Online: Lord & Taylor, Stein Mart and Pier 1 Imports are among a number of zombie brands salvaged from bankruptcy and being reenvisioned as online-only retailers.


BP Boosts Its Bet on Trees: With majority ownership of Finite Carbon, the oil giant plans to take global the business of paying landowners not to cut down trees.

Investors Pile Into ETFs Devoted to Socially Responsible ESG: This year investors put a record $27.4 billion into ETFs traded in U.S. markets that say they focus on environmental, social and corporate governance practices, according to data from FactSet.


The Coronavirus-Era Shopping Response to a Downturn: Trade Up: Consumers across income brackets use savings to splurge on high-end items.


The Problems With Covid Testing for Flights:  The airline industry is counting on tests to make people feel safer flying during coronavirus, but they’re not a bulletproof solution.


The Wealth Adviser Briefing covers topics of interest to wealth managers, financial planners and other advisers. The content is curated by the Dow Jones Newswires team using articles from the Newswires, Barron’s, MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal. The briefing is delivered to subscribers by email each workday morning at 6:30 a.m. ET. You can sign up here for email delivery.

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