On a huge up day, doesn't that say it all?
I've gotten a lot of blowback about my stand on fossil fuels. It's been roundly criticized by many even as so many others are grateful for my new stand.
The funny thing is that the stance itself is often poorly described by others so let's unpack my comments.
First, I have spent a great deal of time in the last couple of years trying to pivot my focus to more social issues. I call it impact per share. Sustainability, the planet as a stakeholder, reducing carbon footprint and the like. I have consistently strived to ask CEOs on Mad Money and Squawk on the Street about what their companies are doing to combat greenhouse gases, to change patterns into more energy efficient ways and to make sure that they know we care about these things, we being what the viewers have made clear matters to them.
Sure the president may not share my views. That is not of consequence to me. What matters is that CEOs know that many will not buy their stocks unless they take sustainability seriously. Many investors, both old and young, but particularly young - both homegamers and portfolio managers - need to hear the company's stance on these issues and if it is wanting in their eyes they might sell the stock.
Its gotten to the point that Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock (BLK) , one of the largest money managers on Earth, has said that these concerns are now paramount in stock selection. He's got huge holdings in oil and gas. He's talking about divesting any company that makes more than 25% of its revenue from thermal coal, a big greenhouse gas emitter.
I don't think people realized the seriousness of this pronouncement. No one in this investment firmament carries as much sway as Larry Fink, including the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett.
You have to ask what's next, oil and gas? That's point one of my change in view.
Point two? My recent interview with Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft (MSFT) . If you have not seen it, you have to see what this $1.2 trillion company is doing to become carbon negative in a decade, including creating a $1 billion sustainability fund. Microsoft is so powerful I believe that his pronouncements will change his suppliers' processes and supply chains. That's a big impact.
Finally, few things seem to move the oil market. The Iranians take out a third of the Saudi capacity. Nothing. They shoot missiles at an Iraqi base where U.S. soldiers are stationed. Nothing. The Saudis vow to have an emergency meeting to cut back production. Oil drops a dollar and thirty cents.
Lots of oil execs are unhappy with my stance. But remember what I am: I am not about making friends, I am about making money. And I don't think I can help you make money in the oil and gas stocks anymore. They seem like a slowly melting ice cube, a wasting asset that will have down revenues unless oil jumps higher and stays higher. After the events I just outlined, I don't expect that to happen.
Now some are interpreting my stance as someone spouting with a lack of knowledge of the issues. To you I say, I have been the most vocal proponent of the industry of anyone on air. Bar none. I also am a huge believer in being energy independent. I have favored the exploration and production of natural gas as a bridge fuel. I considered myself a great friend of the late Aubrey McClendon who taught me all I needed to know about the plethora of natural gas in the country. He foresaw all that happened.
But the bounty has overwhelmed itself. There's too much being pumped and too little demand so that's simply the essence of the problem when it comes to the stock market. That they can't make themselves truly carbon neutral unless they plant millions and millions of trees is self-evident. But the reason I think they are on the wrong side of history is because they can't grow in a world where the ultimate metaphor for our time, Tesla, is up huge, while Exxon's down big on a day when Goldman Sachs (GS) takes it stock down from Hold to Sell.