WSJ Wealth Adviser Briefing: Student Housing, Energy Producers, Long Flights

Stocks around the world closed out one of their best years over the past decade, defying money managers who began 2019 expecting the bull market to be upended by threats from the U.S.-China trade fight and a slowdown in growth. Many investment banks are forecasting solid, if modest gains for the coming year, citing major central banks’ easy-money policies, a resilient U.S. economy and a breakthrough in trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

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.

Student Housing Party on Wall Street May Be Over: The student-housing sector, which had become a darling of real-estate investors in recent years, is running into turbulence amid rising delinquencies and falling college enrollment.

From Dow Jones Newswires

The rating gap between European core and peripheral sovereigns continued to narrow in 2019 but at a modest pace, say Danske’s analysts, who expect the positive rating cycle to continue in 2020. Danske’s analysts expect Portugal’s credit rating to move into the single-A territory this year, while they expect no downgrade of Italy. They look for at least one of the ratings agencies to upgrade Greece to investment grade driven by the restructuring and solid macro fundamentals. Danske expects Finland and Austria to regain triple-A rating by Fitch Ratings. The narrowing of the rating gap in 2019 was primarily due to an upgrade of Portugal and Spain, they say. (

Investor sentiment in North America continues to lag behind its European and Asian counterparts, according to the results of the State Street Investor Confidence Index for December 2019. Optimism around a workable U.S.-China trade deal appears to have lifted the appetite of Asian investors, with an ICI of 89.9 in Asia in the month versus a figure of 71.6 in North America. The bounce in risk sentiment didn’t feed into Europe, where investor confidence fell sharply in December, possibly from a combination of weaker economic data and continued uncertainty of a hard Brexit on the region, says Rajeev Bhargava, head of Investor Behavior Research for State Street Associates. The global ICI indicator decreased to 79.7, down from November’s revised reading of 81.0. (; @lorena_rbal)


Energy Producers’ New Year’s Resolution: Pay the Tab for the Shale Drilling Bonanza: North American oil-and-gas companies have more than $200 billion of debt maturing over the next four years, starting with more than $40 billion in 2020, according to Moody’s Investors Service. It is a tab that producers, pipeline operators and oil-field service companies have run up battling the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for global market share.


FDA to Ban All E-Cigarette Pod Flavors Except Tobacco and Menthol: The Food and Drug Administration plans to ban the sale of fruity flavors in cartridge-based e-cigarettes, but the restriction won’t apply to tank vaping systems commonly found at vape shops..


What to Know Before Resolving to Eat Less Meat: As popular campaigns like ‘Veganuary’ fuel New Year’s pledges to cut back on meat, nutrition studies show conflicting findings about the health benefits.


Tricks to Make Long Flights Fly By: We asked three seasoned fliers—including Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie—to share their strategies for surviving (and enjoying) long-haul plane trips.


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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WSJ Wealth Adviser Briefing: Student Housing, Energy Producers, Long Flights