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Investing Specialists

Weekly Wrap: Finding Income and Investing Amid Uncertainty

We recap the week on Morningstar.com and note the most popular stocks, funds, and exchange-traded funds.

Editor's note: Read the latest on how the coronavirus is rattling the markets and what investors can do to navigate it.

A year ago this week, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to almost zero and launched a massive monetary stimulus campaign--on a Sunday, no less--in an attempt to curb slower economic growth during the coronavirus pandemic. The very next day, the Dow plunged nearly 3,000 points.

That was March Madness, 2020 style.

Fast-forward one year. College basketball is back, stocks have more than rebounded, and yields have inched up. Yet this is no champagne moment for income investors. Yields are still woefully low, leaving income-seekers--particularly retirees eager to clip bond coupons to live on--famished.

What are some possible fixed-income alternatives today? Dividend stocks, lower-quality bonds, and REITs are top seeds. But they carry very different risks.

For many, scrapping the traditional idea of “income” altogether and tapping into appreciated stock positions instead may make the most sense. 

Doing so may be this year’s Cinderella story for income-seekers.

--Susan Dziubinski

Editor's Picks
Special Report: Investing in Strange Times
We reflect on lessons learned--and reaffirmed--over the past year of investing amid market uncertainty.

What Rising Bond Yields Mean for Your Portfolio
Now is a good time to check in on your asset mix.

Morningstar's Guide to Income Investing
We help income-seekers explore their options in a low-yield environment.

Why Vanguard Dividend Growth Remains One of the Best
This strategy can outperform again.

The Great American Challenge: Retirement Income for Everybody
The affluent are well served by today’s retirement-income structure, but not everyday workers.

What the Biden Administration May Mean for Taxes
And when we should expect any changes.

Portfolio Planning and Personal Finance With Christine Benz
How to Extract Income From a Retirement Portfolio
We compare different strategies for generating cash flows, from pure total return to income-centric approaches to annuities.

The Good News About Retirement Income
A lower starting withdrawal rate doesn't guarantee you'll have to live on less.

Do Annuities Belong in Your Retirement Tool Kit?
These vehicles can be bewildering.

Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds
Where to Look for Income in a Low-Yield World
Don't try this at home.

Top Dividend-Stock Funds
These mutual funds and ETFs pursue various dividend strategies and earn Morningstar Analyst Ratings of Silver or Gold.

Small-Cap Multifactor Funds Pick Up Speed
There's a case to be made for these funds.

3 Income Alternatives to Consider
There are risks and rewards for income seekers who turn to preferred stocks, REITs, and core-plus bond funds.

What Opportunities Remain in Fixed Income?
Not many, but commercial mortgage-backed securities may have more room to run.

Stocks
Checking Into Hotel Operators' Economic Moats
We think Marriott and Hilton are the best positioned.

3 Unconventional Ways to Play Cloud Computing
We don't think the shift to the public cloud will kill networking demand. Here's why.

Fed Holds Rates Steady for Now
But more dots move toward a rate hike--or hikes--in 2022 or 2023

Looking Past the Pandemic: Stocks That Will Benefit From Economic Recovery
A few undervalued stocks remain, but many have already surged past fair value.

Are SPACs Right for You?
How to approach this trending type of investment.

4 Utilities With an Edge After Texas Power Outages
We look at which utility companies stand to benefit as the Lone Star State recovers from last month's blackouts.

Stock Analyst Notes
Berkshire Shows Stronger Positioning; We Raise FVE
Here is where our valuations stand with Berkshire's various segments.

Rekenthaler Report
The Final Word on GameStop
Reality check: For whom does the market really work?

What Hedge Funds Teach About Investment Management
Better that fund companies hire on merit than familiarity.

Advisor Insights
It’s Time to Revisit Social Security’s Early and Delayed Claiming Formulas
The current system dates to the 1950s--and much has changed since then.

How Equity Compensation Fits Into Your Clients' Financial Plans
Company stock can be a significant wealth-building opportunity, but uncertainty still surrounds its role in a portfolio.

The Long View Podcast
Bill Bernstein on Why GameStop, Tesla, and Bitcoin Don't Reflect the 'Wisdom of Crowds'
The author and financial advisor on popular mass delusions and whether we're in a bubble.

Bill Schultheis: Long-Term Investors Are 'Silent Majority'
The author and financial advisor discusses the importance of tuning out the noise, helping clients align their money with their life goals, and what it means to be a 'coffeehouse investor.'

The Short Answer 
What Are Active ETFs?
The popularity of the ARK family of ETFs is raising the profile of active ETFs.

A Checklist for Taxable-Bond-Fund Investors
Five considerations for those investing in fixed-income funds.

What Are Municipal Bonds?
These five questions can help you figure out whether to invest in municipal bonds and the best way to do it.

What's the Difference Between Dividend Yield and Dividend Growth Stocks?
Whether you're in the market for a company paying a juicy yield or one that's growing its payout, here are some things to keep in mind.

How Do Employee Stock Options Work?
We explain the differences between ISO and NSO options, how they are taxed, and how to make the most of them.

Commentary
The Problem With Optimizers
Backward-looking data can lead to distorted results.

The Percentage of U.S. Female Fund Managers Is Exactly Where It Was in 2000
Where the industry has and hasn’t made progress on gender representation.

February U.S. Fund Flows Show Investors Adapting to Changing Markets
Investors prepare for inflation, pile into equity funds in February.

What Steps Can People of Color Take to Close the Racial Wealth Gap?
Here are tips from one financial planner on how to make progress.

Most Requested Stock Quotes
Apple
Microsoft
Amazon.com
Tesla
AT&T

Most Requested Fund Quotes
Vanguard Dividend Growth
Vanguard 500 Index
Dodge & Cox
Fidelity 500 Index
Vanguard Total Stock Market Index

Most Requested ETF Quotes
ARK Innovation ETF
Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF
Vanguard S&P 500 ETF
Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF
Invesco QQQ Trust

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