COVID-related ESG content fell below the 25% mark for the first time since the week of March 11. The S&P 500 has declined from all-time highs; if the inverse relationship holds, COVID content may rise in coming weeks, or stocks may rebound.
All the COVID signals now are near lows since March. These lows have previously been described as a potential “New Normal”, but the incoming December-March cold & flu season may change the picture.
Of the traditional ESG categories most associated with COVID-19, Access and Affordability continues to lead all other individual categories as PPE and prospective vaccine costs dominate conversation.
Environmental dimension data no longer rivals Social in the ESG race, but it remains at higher-than-normal levels as climate change-related weather phenomena gain attention including a prolific hurricane season that has exhausted the alphabetical set of names chosen for the year.
The US and Europe have now achieved parity in both new Coronavirus cases (300,000 in the past week) and attention to company behavior related to COVID: Companies headquartered on both sides of the Atlantic are receiving the lowest level of attention in this area since March.
The usual suspects are getting attention for COVID-related content: Cruise Lines, Airlines, Pharmaceutical manufacturers, and industries within the Health Care sector. What’s new is that the ratio of content related to COVID versus non-COVID is dropping to fairly low levels: 2:1 ratios are now the exception, with most industry ratios in this Top 10 list falling below 1:1, or 100%.
A new name on the Top Responder list, which typically is lead by pharmaceutical firms, is Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. The Indian firm distributes Covid-19 anti-viral drug Avigan in India and recently began producing a generic version of Remdesivir.
Continuing with a focus on racial equality, we again highlight key recent Spotlight Events. This week, racial justice-related data shows banks stepping up on diversity and racial justice, with HSBC vowing to double its senior Black staff, and TCF Bank promising $1 billion in loans to minority and women-owned small businesses.