What Investors Were Researching in March
As the market shrugged off new eurozone worries in March, investors remained focused on finding cheap, wide-moat stocks and income-producing investments.
The market shrugged off eurozone worries and a handful of less-than-stellar earnings forecasts from bellwethers like FedEx (FDX) and Oracle (ORCL). The broad-based Morningstar U.S. market index rose 3.4% in March while the both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 hit record-high levels.
Europe came back into focus during the month as Cyprus searched for a bailout and Italy searched for a government. After a few false starts, Cyprus and the European Union, International Monetary Fund, and European Central Bank reached an agreement to ring-fence bank deposits of less than EUR 100,000 and take a slice out of amounts higher than that to pay for the bailout. Even though Cyprus was not forced out of the common currency, fears that the bank deposit levies would be used a template for other indebted European countries, and that depositors would start pulling money out of banks causing a bank run, briefly sent some ripples through equities. The failure of Italy to form a government also forced investors to take another look at the eurozone crisis.
In the United States, Congress passed a continuing resolution funding the government until the fall, avoiding a potential showdown over a shutdown. The Federal Reserve stood pat in its commitment to keep its foot on the accelerator despite data showing the slow but steady improvement in the labor market and the broader economy.
Against this backdrop, what were investors checking out on Morningstar.com during the month? Below are the 25 most viewed stock, mutual fund, and exchange-traded fund reports in March.
|Most Viewed Stock Analyst Reports in March 2013|
|Name||Ticker||Moat||Star Rating||March Return|
|National Oilwell Varco||NOV||Wide||4%|
|Berkshire Hathaway ||BRK.B||Wide||2%|
|C.H. Robinson||CHRW||Wide|| ||4%|
|Bank of America||BAC||Narrow||Under Review||8%|
|Energy Transfer Eq||ETE||Wide||10%|
|Johnson & Johnson||JNJ||Wide||7%|
|Source: Morningstar, Data as of March 31 |
Unsurprisingly, the closely watched and widely held Apple (AAPL) topped the list again this month. But investors were also looking at a number of wide-moat stocks, many of which we think are reasonably priced right now. National Oilwell Varco (NOV) had a Morningstar Rating for stocks of 5 stars for part of the month, while Western Union (WU) still carries that rating. Costco Wholesale (COST) made its first appearance in the most researched list this month. It isn't screamingly cheap, but our analysts think it is the best bet in the consumer defensive sector.
|Most Viewed Open-End Fund Analyst Reports in March 2013|
|Name||Ticker||Morningstar Category||Star Rating||March Return|
|Vanguard Div Growth||VDIGX||Large Blend||4%|
|Vanguard Wellington||VWELX||Mod Allocation||3%|
|PRIMECAP Ody Agg Gr||POAGX||Mid-Cap Growth||6%|
|Wasatch Sml Cap Gr||WAAEX||Small Growth||4%|
|Vanguard Wellsly Inc||VWINX||Conserv Allocation||1%|
|T. Rowe Cap Apprec||PRWCX||Mod Allocation||2%|
|Oakmark International||OAKIX||Foreign Lg Blend||0%|
|Met West Tot Ret Bd||MWTRX||Interm-Term Bond||0%|
|Dodge & Cox Income||DODIX||Interm-Term Bond||0%|
|Dodge & Cox Stock ||DODGX||Large Value||5%|
|FPA Crescent||FPACX||Mod Allocation||2%|
|T. Rowe Health Scien||PRHSX||Health||5%|
|PIMCO Total Return||PTTRX||Interm-Term Bond||0%|
|Amana Income||AMANX||Large Blend||3%|
|Vanguard Equity-Inc||VEIPX||Large Value||3%|
|Matthews Asia Div||MAPIX||Divers Pacific/Asia||2%|
|Templeton Glbl Bd||TPINX||World Bond||0%|
|PRIMECAP Odysy Gr||POGRX||Large Growth||7%|
|Fidelity New Mkts Inc||FNMIX||Emerg Mkts Bond||-1%|
|Vanguard Cap Opp||VHCOX||Large Growth||6%|
|Dodge & Cox Intl Stk||DODFX||Foreign Lg Blend||1%|
|Vanguard PRIMECAP||VPMCX||Large Growth||5%|
|Source: Morningstar, Data as of March 31. |
The most researched funds were little changed in the month. Vanguard Dividend Growth (VDIGX) and Vanguard Wellington (VWELX) were again the most researched funds. Investors still are closely evaluating their fixed-income options and also looking for ways to eke out extra income from equity funds, as well. That being said, investors remain interested in concentrated equity funds like Gold-rated Yacktman (YACKX) or Silver-rated Fairholme (FAIRX).
|Most Viewed ETF Analyst Reports in March 2013|
|Vanguard Dividend Appreciation||VIG||3%|
|Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF||VTI||4%|
|PIMCO Total Return ETF||BOND||0%|
|PowerShares S&P 500 Low Vol||SPLV||5%|
|iShares Barclays TIPS Bond||TIP||0%|
|Vanguard High Div Yield Indx ETF||VYM||4%|
|Vanguard REIT Index ETF||VNQ||3%|
|PowerShares Senior Loan Port||BKLN||1%|
|SPDR Gold Shares||GLD||1%|
|SPDR S&P Dividend||SDY||5%|
|JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index ETN||AMJ||4%|
|Vanguard FTSE Emerg Mkts ETF||VWO||-2%|
|iShares MSCI EM Min Vol Idx||EEMV||-1%|
|PowerShares Intl Div Achievers||PID||3%|
|WisdomTree EM Eq Inc||DEM||-1%|
|PowerShares DB Comdity Idx Trkng||DBC||1%|
|Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF||VDC||5%|
|iShares Core S&P 500 ETF||IVV||4%|
|Vanguard Glbl ex-US Real Estate||VNQI||2%|
|ALPS Alerian MLP ETF||AMLP||4%|
|iShares Dow Jones Select Div Idx||DVY||5%|
|Market Vectors Wide Moat ETF||MOAT||2%|
|iShares S&P U.S. Prfred Stk Idx||PFF||1%|
|WisdomTree LargeCap Dividend||DLN||4%|
|Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF||VEU||1%|
|Source: Morningstar, Data as of Mar. 31|
The search for income was evident in the ETF data, too. Investors were looking everywhere from dividend-paying stocks ( Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG) ) to fixed income ( PIMCO Total Return ETF (BOND)) to master limited partnerships ( JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index ETN (AMJ)) to preferred shares ( iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index (PFF)).
Jeremy Glaser has a position in the following securities mentioned above: MSFT. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.