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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 June 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.

Panels at the 30th annual Morningstar Investment Conference featured professional fixed-income investors who focus on corporates, munis, and emerging-markets debt. While all of the experts identified pockets of opportunities in the market, they also agreed that investors should practice caution, especially considering the possibility of a recession on the horizon in a few years. Here are four highlights from the panels. 

Every quarter, we re-evaluate the Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index's holdings and add and remove stocks based on a preset methodology. This helps keep the index true to its aim of providing exposure to competitively advantaged (wide-moat) stocks selling at the lowest current market price/fair value ratios. Check out the 10 newest positions.

Koko the gorilla, who became an international celebrity during her lifetime for ability to communicate in sign language, died Tuesday at age 46. Koko reportedly had a vocabulary of more than 1,000 signs and the ability to understand 2,000 words of spoken English. This article in National Geographic explains how Koko's achievements led to major revelations about animal empathy and communication and why her legacy will live on. 

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates last week and indicated that it's likely to increase rates twice more by year end. That brings the benchmark Fed funds rate up to 2%, its highest level since 2008. Director of personal finance Christine Benz shares eight do's and don'ts  to keep in mind as you consider your financial and portfolio strategies amid expected future interest-rate hikes. 

Do you know where the phrase "by the same token" comes from? How about "through the grapevine"? Language expert Arika Okrent explains the origins of 16 idiomatic expressions in this Mental Floss article. 

Our Ultimate Stock-Pickers Team scours the most recent holdings of 26 investment managers to uncover investment ideas our equity analysts and top investment managers find attractive. In this article, the team evaluates at the performance of the Ultimate Stock-Pickers Index, and takes a look at the top 10 stock holdings among the investment managers' portfolios (by conviction) and the biggest contributors and detractors to the index's performance.

Thanks to the Federal Reserve's efforts to normalize interest rates, cash yields have been steadily rising. As yields have (modestly) risen, we're starting to see greater yield differentiation among various cash vehicles. Here are five key factors to help you home in on the cash instruments that work best for you in terms of yield, liquidity, taxes, and safety. 

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