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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 Aug. 17.

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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.

 Walmart (WMT) reported a strong second quarter and raised its earnings per share guidance Thursday. Equity analyst Zain Akbari plans to modestly raise the wide-moat retailer's $90 fair value estimate. Ecommerce growth was a particular bright spot, he said

“Traffic and ticket contributed fairly equally, with results buoyed by grocery sales as Walmart's updated bakery, meat, and produce sections delivered results. Walmart noted that it achieved 40% e-commerce growth for the quarter and expects a similar mark for the full year, with the firm using an expanded brand assortment and school supply lists integrated into its mobile apps to drive usage; digital sales contributed about 100 basis points to U.S. comparable sales results.” 

Fidelity's free index funds are making headlines, but they're only available through Fidelity's brokerage platform. We list 11 ultracheap funds and ETFs that offer diversified exposure to the total U.S. stock market, similar to Fidelity Zero Total Market Index (FZROX), and others that offer broad exposure to the total international stock market (ex.-U.S. stocks), similar to Fidelity Zero International Index (FZILX). These funds aren't free from a cost perspective, but neither are they tethered to an exclusive brokerage platform. 

Bud Light and the Cleveland Browns announced a special promotion for Cleveland Browns fans. So-called Victory Fridges are Wi-Fi-connected refrigerators in Cleveland-area bars and at Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium. Unfortunately for long-suffering Browns fans, the fridges will only open when the Browns manage to snap their winless streak (currently at 17 games).

As an investment wrapper, exchange-traded funds have several beneficial characteristics, says director of global ETF research Ben Johnson. Some of them have been oversold, while others have not been given their due. He examines four oversold and undersold features of ETFs.

Associate director of fixed-income manager research Karin Anderson weighed in on three causes of Turkey’s plummeting currency and what impact the country's woes could have for broader emerging-markets funds. 

“One, the [Turkish] central bank did not hike rates as the market expected in order to tame inflation. It’s running at about 16%, so the market was really looking for that to happen. Another thing that happened was the ECB announced concerns about its banks' positions in Turkey, in the currency in different debt positions. Also the U.S. announced tariffs on steel and aluminum. Three very negative things happened and caused … the currency to plummet; it's down about a third, year to date.” 

Aretha Franklin, the legendary singer who mastered genres such as soul, pop, jazz, R&B, gospel, and disco, died Thursday at age 76. In addition to being one of the greatest singers of all time, she will be remembered as a symbol of strength, women's liberation, and the civil rights movement, said Rolling Stone

“Over the course of her six-decade career, Franklin garnered 44 Grammy nominations, winning 18, and became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.”

Many mutual funds from the big shops are very large, but a handful of them are quite small and undiscovered. Director of manager research Russ Kinnel talks about three great funds that are hiding in plain sight.

Most Popular Articles                     

Most Popular Videos

Most Requested Stock Quotes
General Electric

Most Requested Fund Quotes
Fidelity Contrafund
Vanguard 500 Index
T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth
Vanguard Total Stock Market Index
Fidelity ZERO Total Market Index

Most Requested ETF Quotes
Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF
Invesco QQQ
Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF
Vanguard S&P 500 ETF does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.