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Investing Specialists

Morningstar Runs the Numbers

We take a numerical look through this week's Morningstar research. Plus, our most popular articles and videos for the week ended Dec. 8.

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Inspired by Harper's Index (with a tip of the hat to FiveThirtyEight's Significant Digits blog), Morningstar Runs the Numbers uses a numbers-based approach to highlight recent Morningstar research, along with some outside news stories.

If you're an IRA holder you should be familiar with IRS form 5498, writes Morningstar contributor Natalie Choate. Every year, your IRA provider reports on your IRA to the IRS with two tax forms: IRS Forms 1099-R and 5498. A mistake on one of these forms could cost you money or lead to a needless IRS audit. Head off problems by eyeballing those forms carefully when you receive them and, if you find mistakes, getting them corrected.

The current bull market raises concerns of lofty valuations and excessive risk-taking in some areas. Morningstar's manager research analysts have identified five mid-cap funds that have used risk responsibly. This list is not exhaustive but highlights Morningstar Medalists (some of which are closed to new investors) that have held up well in market pullbacks and have outperformed over the long term.

15% or below
Most investors know about the benefits of tax-loss selling--selling positions at a loss to offset capital gains and reduce one's overall tax burden. But investors who are in the 15% tax bracket or below can also benefit from tax-gain harvesting. It works like this: Investors in taxable accounts who are in the 10% and 15% income tax brackets currently pay no federal taxes on long-term capital gains, which gives them the opportunity to sell their appreciated winners to reset their cost basis and rebalance their portfolios, without tax consequences.

70 million
What looked like a duck, probably walked like a duck, but wasn't actually a duck at all? A newly discovered species of amphibious dinosaur called Halszkaraptor escuilliei. The turkey-size creature, which was related to the velociraptor, had a duck bill and sharp claws and lived more than 70 million years ago, National Geographic reported

In our Ultimate Stock-Pickers articles, we take a close look at the portfolios of some top-rated investment managers to uncover investment ideas these managers and Morningstar's equity analysts find attractive, in a manner timely enough for investors to gain some value. In a similar fashion, we took a deep dive into the portfolios of Medalist funds that follow an environmental, social, and governance mandate. This list contains the top 10 stock holdings by conviction, which means they are held in many of the sustainable stock-pickers' portfolios, and they account for a relatively large position size within those portfolios.

Do passive fund providers take an active approach to investment stewardship? To find out, our passive investment research analysts surveyed the largest providers of index funds and exchange-traded funds--12 in total--across the United States, Europe, and Asia. The verdict? Our research shows that the shift to index investing hasn't led to an abdication of stewardship responsibilities.

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