WSJ Wealth Adviser Briefing: Margin Debt Rises, Consumer Brand Expansion Plans, Eating the Christmas Tree

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The coronavirus pandemic snarled the world’s sprawling supply chains for months, shutting factories, disrupting shipping and making it difficult for companies to get products from factories to consumers.

Now, many companies are considering changing the model to avoid future product shortages and transportation delays, even if it might increase costs. Some are looking at moving production closer to home. Others are considering spreading small factories around the world instead of putting all their manufacturing in one place.

There is little evidence of a big shift so far, given the costs and the uncertainty. But surveys and interviews with corporate executives show some have started to make changes and many are seriously considering them, though consultants say the moves could take several years to roll out.

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.


Pandemic’s Impact on Asian Large-Caps Moderated in Third Quarter.: Energy companies, car makers and transportation companies continued to be the biggest losers.


Investors Double Down on Stocks, Pushing Margin Debt to Record: Chasing bigger gains, some have exposed themselves to potentially devastating losses through riskier plays, such as concentrated positions and trading options.


From Dow Jones Newswires

Semiconductor companies should see accelerating demand into 1H of next year and a more normal second half, as the global economy recovers from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, analysts at Mizuho Securities USA say in a new note. “We believe 2021 is setting up for the strongest automotive, industrial, and handset rebound in the last five years,” they say and bump up price targets for a swath of chipmakers, including Advanced Micro Devices, Lam Research, Xilinx and others. (; @MicahMaidenberg)

TSA security checks were down by an average of 65% from Dec 20-26 compared with a year ago, including five days of the holiday season above 1M. Still, published schedules still show January capacity in line with the 40% decrease in December. US airline shares all marked higher in pre-open trade Monday following the signing of the latest stimulus bill, with American leading the potential gains ahead of its restart of Boeing 737 MAX flying on Tuesday. (; @dougcameron)


Consumer Brands Bet Working From Home Is Here to Stay: Makers of Folgers coffee, Scott toilet paper and Kraft Mac & Cheese are investing in factories, new products aimed at remote workers post-pandemic.

Instacart Looked Like a Savior. Now Stores Aren’t So Sure: Some supermarkets plan to stick with delivery service despite fees while Instacart says it lets grocers expand e-commerce without building their own infrastructure.


Companies Seek to Green the Grid With Trash Gas: Pipeline owners and utilities eye manure, landfills, sewage to burnish environmental credentials.


Covid-19 Upended Americans’ Finances, Just Not in the Ways We Expected:  The stock market soared, home prices did too—and millions of Americans went hungry. Nothing about the 2020 recession has turned out as predicted.


New Christmas Tree Disposal Method? Eat It: Some embrace Douglas fir pesto and eggnog; others warn some trees are poisonous and not that tasty.


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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