Our Commodities Call Proved Prescient

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Beverly Goodman

Joel Arbaje

What a year—again. I’ll leave the political commentary and personal observations to another publication, but it was not an easy year. And the markets reflected the same good news/bad news/crazy news that informed most of 2021. Once-obscure companies such as GameStop and China Evergrande became huge, and confounding, forces. Corporate leaders seemed more interested in space travel than profits here on earth. And amid all the noise, some pretty big changes occurred, affecting almost all investors.

We told readers a year ago that commodities were set to boom, and they did—the Bloomberg Commodity Index rose 27% in 2021, giving the S&P 500’s 29% gain a run for its money. Sure, this may not be as sexy as who tweeted what or predicting which vaccine maker will be the big winner, but this is where Barron’s shines. And we are refining our recommendation for this year: Commodities sit at the crossroads of three of today’s biggest investment themes—rising inflation, a changing China, and the transition toward renewable energy. In this week’s cover story, Reshma Kapadia explores how these trends intersect and recommends a more nuanced strategy—and, of course, three actively managed funds to help get you there.

There was also big news for investors with 401(k) plans—and even for those without them. These workplace retirement plans will soon offer sustainable funds and annuities, two long-fought battles that will ultimately benefit investors. And for folks who work at smaller companies that don’t offer 401(k) plans, that might change soon, thanks to another development that was quietly rolled out last year. Lewis Braham explains what investors need to know.

And finally, Sarah Max talks with Amy Domini, a pioneer in ESG. Domini was an early and unwavering believer in the value of considering environmental, social, and governance factors alongside financial metrics when investing. Her views on how sustainable investing has gone from a maligned backwater to a force embraced by Wall Street is fascinating.

Beverly Goodman
Editorial Director, Investing & Asset Management

Write to Beverly Goodman at beverly.goodman@barrons.com