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What Investors Were Researching in April

Investors remained focused on moats and income in April, while plummeting gold prices raised interest in gold-focused ETFs.

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Stocks added on to big first-quarter gains in April. The broad-based Morningstar US Market Index was up 2.2% in the month after posting a return of more than 11% in the first quarter and a 16% return in 2012.

The month's market news was mostly dominated by earnings reports. By and large, earnings were unexciting. Results were generally in line with expectations, but many analysts were disappointed by outlooks for the second quarter and the rest of 2013. Management teams remain very cautious in the face of intense economic pressure in Europe, slowing emerging-markets growth, and continued uncertainty in the United States. One sector, that came in well below expectations was technology. A sharp decline in PC sales in the first quarter, some product-cycle changes, and a lull in enterprise-hardware spending hit firms such as 
 International Business Machines (IBM) hard. 

Jeremy Glaser has a position in the following securities mentioned above: MSFT. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.