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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. 22.

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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.

The tax package is set to go into effect in 2018, but there are three important aspects of it that have received less attention. Tim Steffen, director of Advanced Planning for Baird, discusses some of them with director of personal finance Christine Benz.

Have you ever wondered what options Morningstar employees have in their 401(k)? In addition to our customized managed portfolio options and index-based target-date funds, we have 24 funds plus a money market and a stable-value fund. Russ Kinnel writes about them here.

That's how many years Clarence, the angel in Frank Capra's holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life," has been passed over for his wings. A thought-provoking post on Philanthropy Daily explains how Clarence the hapless angel can teach us an important lesson about philanthropy: All helpers need help, too--they need to learn to learn about, and from, those they want to help.

2017 began with concerns that the new administration would have a chilling effect on the growth of sustainable investing. The concerns had to do with President Donald Trump promising to "bring back coal," roll back Barack Obama's clean power plan, and pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, all of which, it was feared, could hurt investments in renewable energy and, more broadly, in companies better aligned with the transition to a low-carbon economy, said Jon Hale, Morningstar's head of sustainability research. But that didn't happen; in fact, Hale said he saw little evidence of firms abandoning sustainability in 2017. He lists five notable things in sustainable investing this year. 

In the latest installment of our Ultimate Stock-Pickers series, we take a look at the 10 biggest contributors to the Ultimate Stock-Pickers Index's performance as well as the 10 largest detractors.

Healthcare sector director Damien Conover recently reviewed the pipelines for large-cap pharmaceutical and large-cap biotechnology firms. He thinks they are positioned to grow at about 4% annually on the top line, and through cost-cutting and some leverage can achieve about 6% annual growth on the bottom line. These two names specifically are worth highlighting, in Conover's opinion. 

Did you know scientists discovered an eighth continent in 2017? Other scientific achievements this year included the discovery of seven Earth-like planets orbiting a distant star, and the teleportation of photon particles--things you would think were only possible in sci-fi novels. Read Mental Floss' rundown of the top 10 science stories of 2017

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