West Virginia Signs Investment Pact With China Energy


By Staff for Associated Press – West Virginia officials announced an agreement on Thursday with China Energy Investment Corp. Ltd. for the company to invest $83.7 billion in shale gas development and chemical manufacturing in West Virginia over 20 years. State Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher and China Energy President Ling Wen signed the memorandum in Beijing as part of the U.S.-China trade mission and an overall $250 billion of planned Chinese investments in the U.S. It during President Trump’s visit to Beijing. West Virginia commerce officials said project planning is already underway and will focus on power generation, chemical manufacturing and underground storage of natural gas liquids and derivatives. The state was chosen for its position as an energy producer and its large underground shale gas reserves. “West Virginia has actively sought direct foreign investment to strengthen and diversify our economy,” Thrasher said. Toyota, Hino Motors, Gestamp, Sogefi and other corporations with international parent companies have created jobs and generated income in the state, and they expect China Energy to bring mutual benefits, he said. West Virginia University since 2002 has been jointly researching coal liquefaction with mining company Shenhua Group, which merged with energy company Guodian Group to form China Energy.

Norway Reviews Ethics Of Energy Investments


By Staff of Stop ETP – The Council on Ethics for Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is assessing whether Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) violated the fund’s guidelines for responsible investment, reported Reuters today. Similar reviews in the past has led to divestments, such as the fund’s 2015 decision to sell off more than $8 billion of investments in coal and related industries. As of the end of 2016, the $1 trillion fund has held $248 million of ETP bonds. “This is good news, it shows that our voices are being heard,” said Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In the Ground Campaigner with Indigenous Environmental Network. “We encourage all investors to question the Human and Indigenous rights impacts of their fossil fuel investments.”

Impact Investing And Employee Ownership


By Mary Ann Beyster for the Democracy Collaborative. With income inequality in the United States at record high levels, employee ownership is increasingly being lauded as a potential solution to spreading wealth more broadly. Most recently, research from the National Center for Employee Ownership released in May shows that employee owners have a household net worth that is 92 percent higher than non-employee owners. They also make 33 percent higher wages, and are far less likely to be laid off. But employee ownership requires new investment in order to get to scale. A new report by Mary Ann Beyster, president and trustee of the Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED), published by the Fifty by Fifty initiative of The Democracy Collaborative, examines the investing landscape for potential opportunities in employee ownership.

Under Activist Pressure, Portland Agrees To End All Corporate Investments

An activist calls for divestment at a Portland City Council meeting last week. The council's decision to divest from all corporations was a victory for activists organized along intersectional lines. (Photo: Doug Yarrow)

By Mike Ludwig for Truthout – In a sweeping move that follows a wave of divestment activism in Portland, Oregon, and across the country, the Portland City Council voted last week to pull all of the city’s investments in corporate bonds and securities. The decision was a major victory for a broad coalition of activists who have pushed for the city to end its investments in corporations that have questionable records on the environment and human rights, including ties to the Dakota Access pipeline, the private prison industry and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. “As their decision stands now, it’s permanent.… We can rest assured in Portland that our money won’t be funding prisons, pipelines and the occupation of Palestine,” said Amanda Aguilar Shank, an organizer with the racial justice group Enlace, in an interview with Truthout. Portland’s City Council had originally considered adding Caterpillar, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and six other companies identified by a volunteer committee on socially responsible investing to a so-called “Do Not Buy” list

Will Donald Trump Be Forced To Battle The Bond Vigilantes?

Looks ready. (AP/Paul Sancya)

By Tim Fernholz for Quartz – There are men and women alive today who have never felt the cold touch of the bond vigilantes. These semi-mythical figures threatened to arise during the Obama administration, but never did. They haunted the first Clinton administration to the point of paranoia. They are, simply speaking, bond investors who turn from buyers to sellers when worried about the potential of rising inflation undercutting the value of their investment. Their selling, the threat of which is generally predicated on government spending plans with the power to trigger inflation, would put pressure on bond prices, and drive up yields.

Seattle Urged To Drop Wells Fargo Over DAPL


By Amanda Froelich for True Activist – A few weeks ago, actress and activist Susan Sarandon made headlines when she asked supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe – who are protesting the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) – to pull their money out of the banks which are invested in its development. “Water protectors”, who have been camped out near Cannon Ball, ND, since April, argue that the controversial DAPL will uproot sacred burial ground and potentially contaminate the Missouri River. In addition, they maintain that the land is rightfully theirs due to an 1851 treaty which was never revoked.

US Arms Makers Invest In A New Cold War

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By Jonathan Marshall for Consortium News – Exclusive: Behind the U.S. media-political clamor for a new Cold War with Russia is a massive investment by the Military-Industrial Complex in “think tanks” and other propaganda outlets, writes Jonathan Marshall. The U.S. military has won only a single major war since the end of World War II (the Gulf War of 1990-91). But U.S. military contractors continue to win major budget wars in Congress nearly every year, proving that no force on earth can resist their lobbying prowess and political clout.

Weapons Makers Tell Investors Russia Threat Great For Business

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

By Lee Fang for The Intercept – THE ESCALATING ANTI-RUSSIAN rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries. Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions with Russia to fuel new business in the wake of Russian’s annexation of Crimea and modest increases in its military budget.

Will Next Global Debt Crisis Come From Private Investors?

A poster along the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina, reads "Enough Vultures. Argentina united in a national cause." | Photo: Reuters

By Staff of Telesur – Private creditors have replaced the public sector as lead borrower to developing countries, which has contributed to a new borrowing and lending boom. Private financial institutions are responsible for prompting a potential “new wave” of debt crises among developing nations, according to a new report carried out by European Think Tank Eurodad. Public debt in developing countries is increasingly being borrowed from private lenders, which the authors argue has meant that an increasing portion of credit is not effectively monitored or regulated.

Fossil Fuel Investments Growing Riskier for Insurers

Low oil prices have jolted the investment world, but a new analysis says fossil fuels' climate risks should be getting insurance companies' attention too. Credit: Getty Images

By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – The 40 largest insurance companies in the United States have $237 billion invested in electric and gas utilities, $221 billion tied to oil and gas companies and nearly $2 billion locked into coal, a new report reveals. With nearly a half-trillion dollars in bonds, equity and other holdings tied to the fossil fuel industry, an analysis published Tuesday by the sustainability group Ceres says insurers should be evaluating their investment exposure to climate change risks.

Warren Buffett Faces Pressure To Invest For Climate, Not Just For Profit

FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2

By Nicholas Kusnetz for Inside Climate News – Thousands of bankers, investors, business journalists and just plain fans will flock to Omaha, Neb., on Saturday in a yearly pilgrimage to glean insight from the world’s most famous investor: Warren Buffett. What they are unlikely to get is any guiding wisdom on climate change, even though the world’s most famous climate scientist, James Hansen, will be among the attendees pushing for it. The occasion is the annual shareholder meeting of Berkshire Hathaway…

How To Finance A Trillion-Dollar Climate Change Opportunity

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By Danny Kennedy and Ken Locklin for Green Tech Media – Pulling the world back from the brink of catastrophic climate change cannot be done for free. Changing the way the world is powered means big spending — and huge investment opportunities — as new clean energy infrastructure is built across the world. And that’s catching the attention of the global financial community. This week, from New York to California to Abu Dhabi, business and political leaders have been talking about the costs and opportunities inherent in the historic pledge that the nations of the world made in Paris last month to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Fastest Internet in US? It's Chattanooga, TN, Thanks To

Internet 2

Yes, you read that right. Internet speeds as fast as 1 gigabit gigabyte per second are the norm in the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Not the spot you might have predicted, would you. Certainly not the place I anticipated would have faster, better internet than anywhere else in the United States, and one of the faster internet speeds on the planet. Not only that, but the fast internet is helping to lead Chattanooga out of the economic doldrums. [A] group of thirty-something local entrepreneurs have set up Lamp Post, an incubator for a new generation of tech companies, in the building. A dozen startups are currently working out of the glitzy downtown office [that was formally the home of Loveman's department store]. “We’re not Silicon Valley. No one will ever replicate that,” says Allan Davis, one of Lamp Post’s partners. “But we don’t need to be and not everyone wants that. The expense, the hassle. You don’t need to be there to create great technology. You can do it here.” He’s not alone in thinking so. Lamp Post is one of several tech incubators in this mid-sized Tennessee city. Money is flowing in. Chattanooga has gone from close to zero venture capital in 2009 to more than five organized funds with investable capital over $50m in 2014 – not bad for a city of 171,000 people. [...]

Investors Beware: Enbridge Not As Safe As It Seems

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For many investors looking for a safe and steady income, dividend-paying Canadian pipeline companies have been a natural choice. And with a yield of almost 3 percent, Enbridge (ENB.TO 50.66 0.06 0.12%) would seem to fit the bill. However, according to Toronto-based money manager, Patrick Horan, Principal at Agilith Capital, investors might want to look elsewhere. “Enbridge is actually quite a dangerous stock,” Horan tells BNN. “Their growth strategy is at risk.” For Horan, who is actively short Enbridge stock, the issue lies with the company’s dividend policy. Enbridge has raised its dividend steadily about 7-10 percent a year over the past three years, he explains. However at the same time, they have been issuing new shares to raise equity. “This is a conflicting strategy,” says Horan. “Why raise the dividend and then go issue shares?” According to Horan, Enbridge is using all its free cash flow to support the dividend. “There’s nothing in the tank for growth,” he says.