Finimize - 🌞 Solar’s looking sunny

Solar energy could be poised for a boom | Inflation forced shoppers to spend big |

Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for December 7th in 3:08 minutes.

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Today's big stories

  1. The International Energy Agency predicted a bright future for solar energy
  2. Here’s a novel tool you can use to forecast profit growth – Read Now
  3. UK retail sales jumped last month, but that wasn’t because Brits cut loose

Solar Is Shining

Solar Is Shining

What’s Going On Here?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) published a report on Tuesday predicting a few fat years for the solar power industry.

What Does This Mean?

Nations were given an extra reason to take their looming climate commitments seriously when war broke out in Europe, sending energy prices sky-high and fanning the flames of global inflation. Renewable energy suddenly started looking a lot more attractive – and solar projects, which are relatively quick and convenient to develop, seemed to possess a special appeal. At any rate, the sector has piqued the interest of the US and India: the IEA thinks the next five years will see the two nations’ solar spending increase sevenfold compared to the past five, putting a dent in China’s hold over the solar supply chain. In fact, things are moving so quickly that the IEA expects solar power generation to outpace coal by 2027.

Why Should I Care?

The bigger picture: Green growth.
It’s not just solar: renewables in general seem to be on a stellar trajectory right now, with some generous government spending helping things along. Just look at the US, which is plowing ahead with a climate package that includes $10 billion in tax credits and $27 billion in a “green bank” to support clean energy projects. That could be why the IEA’s so cheery about clean energy’s fortunes: the body expects global renewable power capacity to become the biggest source of global electricity by 2025 and to double in the next five years.

Zooming out: Testing metal’s mettle.
There are challenges to the green transition, mind you: data out on Tuesday showed that this year's skyrocketing lithium, cobalt, and nickel prices pushed the price of EV battery packs up for the first time in over a decade. Unless costs come down soon, that could make it tricky to mass produce and sell EVs in markets where subsidies aren’t on offer – setting the transition back.

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Analyst Take

Want A Better View Of Next Year’s Profit Growth? Meet Average America Inc.

Want A Better View Of Next Year’s Profit Growth? Meet Average America Inc.

By Paul Allison, Analyst

US stock market valuations have fallen sharply in anticipation of a more difficult year ahead, and whether stock prices improve from here depends a lot on 2023’s profit picture

Top of your to-do list, then, should be forming a view on next year’s profit growth. 

Done the usual way, that can be an arduous task, so I’ve devised a novel way to do it.

That’s today’s Insight: meet Average America Inc., the company standing in for your typical US firm.

Read or listen to the Insight here

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More Buck For Your Bang

More Buck For Your Bang

What’s Going On Here?

Data out on Tuesday showed that UK retail sales jumped in November – but that’s got more to do with inflation than seasonal shopping.

What Does This Mean?

October’s paltry 1.2% annual rise in the value of retail spending had economists hoping the month was the calm before the winter spending storm. But now that November’s figures are in, it seems like this might be a “be-careful-what-you-wish-for” moment. See, the value of retail sales did climb 4.1% last month versus the year before – but for all the wrong reasons. Non-food retail sales didn't grow at all, suggesting consumers aren’t splurging on gifts and festive finery: they’ve just had to spend more to afford the bare necessities. And that 4.1% increase in the value of retail sales wasn’t adjusted for inflation – which was running at a 41-year high of 11.1% in October – meaning that the figure probably conceals a big drop in the actual volume of sales.

Why Should I Care?

Zooming in: If I had a little money.
That grim, expensive reality was confirmed on Tuesday by separate data from Barclaycard, which monitors almost half of the UK’s card transactions. The report showed that spending on necessities like groceries, fuel, and healthcare ticked up by 7.1% in November, while spending on utilities headed skyward and grew by over 40%. No wonder a survey found that half of all Brits are planning to cut spending this Christmas – not merry news for struggling retailers.

The bigger picture: Don’t count on growth.
Consumer spending accounts for about half of the British economy, so it’s no surprise the country’s growth outlook is currently about as strong as Australia’s white Christmas prospects. In fact, a business industry organization said this week that Britain’s economy is on track to shrink 0.4% next year – in line with the OECD’s thinking, which only expects one economy in Europe to perform worse in 2023: Russia.

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💬 Quote of the day

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”

– Peter Drucker (an Austrian consultant, educator, and author)
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🌍 Finimize Live

🥳 Coming Up In The Next Week…

All events in UK time.

🎉 Modern Investor Summit, Day Two: 12pm, December 7th
🌱 The Best Vegan Stocks To Buy In 2023: 3pm, December 9th
♻️ Green Energy Could Be A Better Investment Than Oil: 5.30pm, December 12th
✍️ How To Protect Your Crypto In 2023: 11am, December 14th
🧠 Three Behavioral Biases To Avoid When Investing: 5pm, December 14th

👀 And After That…

🥂 The Best Luxury Stocks To Buy In 2023: 5pm, December 15th
🌪 Preparing Your Strategy for a Volatile 2023 and Beyond: 12pm, January 11th

🎯 On Our Radar

  1. $218,000 sandals. You can buy Steve Jobs’ Birkenstocks – but it’ll cost you.
  2. Simple twist of fate. Turns out Bob Dylan didn’t sign these books himself.
  3. Not just dysfunction. Our mental struggles might be trying to tell us something.
  4. Maybe age does matter. Your body’s “biological age” might have real meaning.
  5. Playing it safe. Here’s how to tell whether you’re being cautious, or plain anxious.
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