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Are robotics, 6G networks or autonomous vehicles powered by renewable energy the next big thing? That is what many investors are betting on. An approach known as thematic investing, based on broad trends such as automation and climate change, has grown in popularity over the past few years. Funds that use a thematic strategy aren’t bound by sector or region, which usually involves higher risk. Instead, the idea is to tap into companies that are part of—and best positioned to benefit from—technological, demographic and environmental changes sweeping the world.

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.


It’s White-Knuckle Time for Buyers of Riskier Corporate Loans: The market for low-rated corporate loans has suffered sharp declines in recent months, a sign of growing aversion to earnings shortfalls or other strains at indebted companies.

From Dow Jones Newswires

Investors have piled into volatility-linked strategies, increasing exposure to the stock market. Wells Fargo estimates these strategies have the most stock exposure since the summer of 2018. Volatility-linked strategies tend to make buying and selling decisions based on how rocky or calm markets are, and tend to load up on stocks when markets are calm, as they have been. The exposure could also lead to big selling if things turn, according to Pravit Chintawongvanich, equity derivatives strategist at Wells Fargo Securities. “A flare-up in volatility could lead to a substantial de-risking from these strategies, as was seen in [February] and [October] 2018,” Chintawongvanich says. “An escalation between the US/Iran may have little effect on economic growth, but in the short term could be enough to cause a volatility flare-up in stocks and a temporary pullback.” ([email protected]; @gunjanjs)

U.K. retailers, housebuilders, media firms and miners are among the stocks with the best growth prospects in 2020, Peel Hunt says. Peel Hunt’s top 35 growth stocks of 2020 are: ASOS; boohoo; Homeserve; 4imprint; Atalya Mining; Boku; discoverIE; Future, Games Workshop, Genus, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, Harworth; JD Sports Fashion; Learning Technologies; Marshalls; Serica Energy; Sirius Real Estate; Tharisa; Avon Rubber; Abcam; Bovis Homes; Brooks Macdonald; Dunelm; GBG; IWG; Kenmare; Loungers; Manolete Partners; Next Fifteen Communications; Paragon Banking Group; Restore; Volution; Watkin Jones; WH Smith and Zotefoams. Last year’s top growth selections delivered an average total return of 39% over 2019 with media company Future the star performer, up 203%, Peel Hunt analysts say. ([email protected])


Cocoa Cartel Stirs Up Global Chocolate Market:  The West African nations of Ivory Coast and Ghana, which combined produce more than 60% of the world’s cocoa, have banded together to form their own chocolate-coated version of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.


What Are Green Bonds?: Surging interest in bonds intended to encourage sustainability means investors likely will hear the term “green bonds” used more often. While similar to traditional bonds, these fixed-income securities are different in at least one important way: Funds raised via green bonds must get used for projects that benefit the environment. 


The Challenges That Working Mothers Still Face:  For her final article after three decades on the beat, Sue Shellenbarger looks at what’s changed and what hasn’t for women trying to manage office and home lives.


Blue Eggs and Salt? Restaurant Freebies Get Fancy: The free sample—long a staple of Costco snacking and food courts of America—is becoming de rigueur for restaurants, even those with Michelin stars.


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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