MSCI upgrades Baloise's sustainability rating once again
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The internationally respected rating agency MSCI has upgraded the sustainability rating of Baloise for the second time in succession. This means that Baloise's ESG rating has now improved from A to AA, the second-highest level on the scale. "The fact that MSCI has upgraded our sustainability rating once again, this time to AA, demonstrates that we have made further progress on environmental, social and corporate governance aspects of sustainability. I am delighted that MSCI describes us as a leader in the corporate governance sphere. Further factors that contributed to the ESG rating upgrade included progress in the field of talent management and our initiatives to mitigate climate change," says Gert De Winter, CEO of Baloise Group. Baloise believes that the concept of sustainable development and the insurance and financial services industries share some important characteristics, for example the need to act with a long-term focus and to manage risks and resources responsibly. Increasingly, this is also being recognised outside the Company. In April 2017, MSCI assigned Baloise an ESG rating of BB. About two years later, it upgraded the rating from BB to BBB. In November 2021, MSCI raised the ESG rating of Baloise again, from BBB to A. Baloise is a leader in the corporate governance sphere The latest rating increase from A to AA was awarded by MSCI in recognition of Baloise's leading performance in the field of corporate governance compared with an international peer group. MSCI highlighted positive developments in the organisation of the Board of Directors. Moreover, Baloise has improved its talent management and introduced initiatives aimed at mitigating climate risks. The progress that Baloise has been making with the implementation of its sustainability strategy is also attracting growing attention and recognition from other rating agencies. For example, Baloise was recently (as of 19 September 2022) included in the SXI Switzerland Sustainability 25 index of the Swiss stock exchange. This index measures the performance of the 25 Swiss companies that have the highest sustainability rating according to the criteria used in Inrate's ESG impact rating (see media information).
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Swiss stocks closed broadly lower on Monday as, on the macroeconomic front, in Switzerland, the KOF consensus has published revised growth forecasts. GDP is expected to grow by 2.2% in 2022, compared to 2.5% in June, while in 2023 an increase of 1.0% is expected, after 1.6%. Inflation is anticipated to be higher than previously forecast, accelerating to 3.0% from 2.6%. The SMI ended down 0.64% at 10,072.62 points, with a low of 10,015.37 and a high of 10,160.89. Of the 30 blue-chip stocks, 16 fell, 13 rose and Holcim ended unchanged. The volatile AMS Osram (+2.5%) finished on top of the podium, ahead of SGS (+1.7%) and Temenos (+1.1%). Credit Suisse (-0.5% in Zurich) announced that its strategic review was progressing and could lead to asset disposals. The Swiss banking group indicated it would provide further details when it publishes its third quarter results, scheduled for October 27th. The two other banks, UBS (+0.5%) and Julius Bär (-0.5%), closed mixed. Insurers Swiss Life (-3.0%) and Swiss Re (-2.7%) fell the most, along with Alcon and Zurich (both -1.5%). The three heavyweights Roche (-1.1%), Novartis and Nestlé (both -0.5%) lost ground. UBS lowered its price target for Novartis and confirmed "neutral".
European stocks closed broadly lower on Monday as investors made largely cautious moves amid mounting fears of a global recession due to rising interest rates. Markets were weighed down by comments from European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde that interest rates will need to rise over the next policy meeting notwithstanding slowing growth. Investors were also digesting the victory of a right-wing bloc led by Giorgia Meloni in Italy's parliamentary elections on Sunday. The pan European Stoxx 600 fell 0.42%. Germany's DAX declined 0.46%, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.24%, Switzerland's SMI shed 0.79%, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged up 0.03%. In the UK market, Hargreaves Lansdown rallied 4.2%. Fresnillo, Entain, Sage Group, 3I Group, Haleon, Spirax-Sarco Engineering and Smiths Group gained 3 to 3.5%. Reckitt Benckiser, Ashtead Group, Flutter Entertainment, IHG, BAE Systems, Bunzl, Halma and Diageo also moved up sharply. Taylor Wimpey tumbled more than 7%. Persimmon drifted down 6.6%. Barratt Developments, Berkeley Group Holdings, Segro, Natwest Group and Lloyds Banking Group ended lower by 3 to 5.2%. In Paris, Engie and Veolia both shed more than 3%. AXA, Societe Generale, Danone, Sanofi, Vivendi, BNP Paribas, Bouygues and Carrefour lost 1 to 2.1%. Atos, Air France-KLM, Faurecia and Thales gained 2 to 3%. Accor, WorldLine, Valeo and Renault also ended notably higher. In the German market, RWE, Deutsche Telekom, Vonovia, Bayer, Deutsche Wohnen, Munich RE, Allianz, Continental, Deutsche Bank and Sartorius lost 1.3 to 3.3%. HelloFresh, SAP, MTU Aero Engines, Daimler, HeidelbergCement, Siemens Healthineers and BMW gained 1 to 2.3%.
U.S. stocks extended their decline Monday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid into a bear market, reflecting investor concern about the pace of global growth and the price of central-bank efforts to slow inflation. The Dow’s decline of 329.60 points, or 1.1%, to 29260.81, marked its fifth down trading day in a row. The move put the Dow into its first bear market—defined in Wall Street parlance as a drop of 20% or more from a recent high—since the early days of the pandemic. Investors and analysts said sentiment continued to be negative as traders worry about the outlook for interest rates and the possibility that stress from the second extended period of declines this year will spill over into unexpected areas. The S&P 500 fell 38.19 points, or 1%, to 3655.04, hitting a new 2022 low. The Nasdaq Composite, which flitted between gains and losses, slipped 65.00 points, or 0.6%, to 10802.92. Of the 11 S&P sectors, only consumer staples ticked higher, up less than 0.1%. The declines were driven by energy, real estate and utilities. Goldman Sachs, a Dow component, slipped $7.35, or 2.4%, to $294.62. Boeing, also part of the Dow, fell $3.92, or 3%, to $127.34. Amazon (+1.2%) will offer another Prime Day this year, on 11 and 12 October, after the one in July. This is the first time the e-commerce giant's promotional event has been held twice in a year. Netflix (-1%) announced the resignation of its chief accounting officer, Ken Barker, four months after he took office. The streaming giant said the executive made the decision for personal reasons and that the departure was not related to a disagreement over the company's finances. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer (-0.6%) filed with US regulators for approval of a new version of its Covid vaccine booster for children aged 5 to 11.
In Asia, major indexes broadly closed mixed. In Japan, the Nikkei index rose by 0.6 per cent, leading the region. The Nikkei is supported by investments in automotive and electronics stocks. In contrast, the Kospi in South Korea fell by 0.7 per cent. In Hong Kong, the market is edged 1.1 per cent lower. In Shanghai, the market is slightly up. Energy stocks fall in Mainland China as oil prices lose ground and the outlook for the global economy is gloomy. Petrochina declines by 0.8 per cent and Sinopec by 0.7 per cent.
U.S. government debt yields gained ground on Monday, with the 2-year rate jumping to a 15-year high after a surge in U.K. gilt rates and a poorly received U.S. auction. The 10-year Treasury note was yielding 3.906%, up 20 basis points while the 2-year Treasury note gained 10 basis points, closing at 4,319%.
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