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Research Highlights: This Week's Recommendations

Here's your quick guide to Morningstar research published this week.

Here’s your quick guide to Morningstar research published this week.

New Picks
If you want to find our latest favorite stocks and funds--out of the 1,000 stocks and 2,000 funds we cover--it’s easy. Our
Stock Star Ratings and Fund Analyst Picks group together our top picks. Of note this week: We updated our Fund Analyst Picks for the mid-blend and small-growth categories.

This Week’s Positive Stock Analyst Reports
Out of the 50 or so Stock Analyst Reports we published this week, here are some of the most positive--the stocks our analysts are most bullish on.

 Comcast (CMCSK), by Todd Bernier
"We think now is the time to buy Comcast."

 Costco Wholesale (COST), by Mike Porter
"…we think that Costco is making a wise decision to continue with its new-store growth plan at the expense of short-term earnings…."

 Calpine (CPN), by Rob Plaza
"The company's second-quarter results showed that its customers are still power hungry."

 Office Depot (ODP), by Mike Porter
"…although they're up 30% since we went positive on them, we still can't pass them up at their current price."

 Humana (HUM), by Rob Plaza
"Given these robust pricing trends, it's hard to believe that Humana's stock price has fallen over 30% so far in 2001."

This Week’s Negative Stock Analyst Reports
We’re sticklers for valuation around here, and if we don’t think a stock is cheap, we’ll let you know about it.

 Delphi Automotive Systems (DPH), by Josh Peters
"Unlike the company’s less-unionized peers, Delphi has defined benefit obligations that are simply enormous…."

 Alltel (AT), by Michael Hodel
"Our biggest qualm about the proposed acquisition is the price."

 Triton PCS Holdings (TPC), by Todd Bernier
"Measured on a per-subscriber basis, Triton's enterprise value--the combination of debt and equity, less cash--is very high at over $5,800."

This Week’s Positive Fund Analyst Reports
We published about 70 Fund Analyst Reports this week. Among those, the following were some of the most positive.

 Vanguard 500 Index (VFINX), by Scott Cooley
"Over the past five- and 10-year periods, the fund has beaten at least 80% of its rivals, thanks largely to its sizable cost advantage."

 Artisan International (ARTIX), by William Samuel Rocco
"We think anyone looking for a foreign-stock fund should look here."

 Liberty Acorn Z (ACRNX), by Christopher Traulsen
"We don't think the sale of Liberty Acorn Fund's parent company undercuts its appeal much."

 First Eagle SoGen Global (SGENX), by Gregg Wolper
"Fine returns aside, we think First Eagle SoGen Global Fund's most impressive feature is its low risk level."

 RS Diversified Growth (RSDGX), by Christopher Traulsen
"…its experienced management and fine overall record make it a strong choice for those seeking an aggressive small-growth fund."

Other positive new Fund Analyst Reports included those for American Funds Income Fund of America  (AMECX), Vanguard Tax-Managed Small Cap  (VTMSX), T. Rowe Price New Horizons  (PRNHX), and American Century Small Cap Value  (ASVIX).

This Week’s Negative Fund Analyst Reports
If a fund has high expenses, asset bloat, or lousy performance relative to peers, expect us to slam it. Here are some of the negative reports we published this week.

 J.P. Morgan U.S. Small Company (PPCAX), by Gabriel Presler
"All told, this fund is one to avoid."

 Dreyfus MidCap Index (PESPX), by Dan McNeela
"Not only are Vanguard's 0.25% expenses half of this fund's, but Vanguard has also distinguished itself with deft moves as stocks are added and subtracted from the official S&P listing."

 Granum Value (GRVFX), by Dan McNeela
"This fund's cost structure is likely to take too big a bite out of its returns to suit most investors."

 Oppenheimer Discovery (OPOCX), by William Harding
"The fund's annual returns have landed in the group's bottom half in each of the past five years."

 Van Wagoner Micro-Cap Growth (VWMCX), by Christopher Traulsen
"…we think it's simply too risky for most investors, and suggest that those considering it only put money here they can afford to lose."

Coming Up on

  • Bill Nygren Q&A. Investment junkies: Don’t miss this. We recently posted Part 1 of the Q&A between Bill Nygren and users. Next week we’ll be featuring Part 2. Our hats off to Nygren--who runs Oakmark (OAKMX) and Oakmark Select (OAKLX)--for answering so many investor questions.
  • New Featured Stock Star Ratings. All week in our Stock Star Ratings table, we’ll be highlighting stocks that are overpriced. (This list is free for anybody who registers on
  • New Stock Analyst Reports on Charles Schwab, J.P. Morgan Chase, Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, AFLAC, among many others. See our most recently published reports here.
  • Video Reports three times a day. Check out our weekly schedule for what’s on tap.
  • Pat Dorsey, our director of stock analysis, on Fox News Channel. Pat makes his weekly appearance on the Bulls & Bears show on Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. EST. (The show also runs at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 9:00 a.m. Sunday.)
  • Russel Kinnel on CNBC. See our director of fund analysis each Friday morning at about 10:25 a.m. EST.
  • Christine Benz on CNNfn. See the editor of Morningstar FundInvestor talk funds every Friday at 4:45 p.m. EST.

If you read research you love or hate on the site, let me know at Also note that you can keep up with through two of our weekly e-newsletters: Weekly Wrap and SmartInvestor. They’re both free.