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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. 24.

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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 there's a single unsolved problem in the retirement plans for many middle- and upper-middle-income adults, it's what to do about long-term care costs later in life. If you're among the people who are still on the fence about what to do, the best way to make smart decisions is to go into the process armed with the facts. Director of personal finance Christine Benz pulled together 75 long-term care statistics to help you answer these questions and more. 

We recently screened our global equity research to target high-quality stocks (as measured by moat) with stable cash flows (medium or low fair value uncertainty), trading at a meaningful discount to our fair value estimate. The screen yielded a list that was dominated by consumer defensive stocks, many of them tobacco producers, alcoholic beverage-makers, and snack food and soft drink companies. Hence, our list of 15 stocks for tailgating season was born. 

We've all heard the claims from people--including doctors and researchers--who argue that a little bit of alcohol can actually help you live a longer, healthier life. But a new study published Thursday in The Lancet finds evidence to the contrary. Its findings not only reaffirm that alcohol is one of the biggest killers globally, but they also show there's no safe amount of alcohol consumption, Gizmodo reports. 

No-moat  Target (TGT) stock got a boost Wednesday after the retailer posted 7% quarterly sales growth on stellar 6.5% comparable sales expansion, its best mark in 13 years. Management lifted its fiscal adjusted earnings per share guidance for 2018. Analyst Zain Akbari plans a mid- to high-single-digit percentage uptick to our $65 fair value estimate for Target based on our more optimistic short-term outlook. Still, Akbari is wary of the long-term competitive dynamic Target faces, given its lack of differentiation in a sector with virtually no switching costs. 

Finding a good international stock fund is easier said than done. Ideally, you want a fund that provides exposure to foreign large caps with both growth and value characteristics and some smaller companies and emerging-markets stocks thrown in for good measure. Here are three of Morningstar's favorite foreign large-blend funds that are accepting money from new investors. 

Investors' growing preference toward lower-priced funds, combined with a nine-year bull market that has caused fund assets under management to grow (despite many active funds seeing outflows), has driven fees downward. As a result, active funds that haven't lowered their fees have become less competitive on price, and their Price Pillar ratings, a component of the Morningstar Analyst Rating, have gotten worse. Analyst Greg Carlson takes a closer look at four funds whose Price ratings dropped to Negative from Positive during the past five years. 

Most Popular Articles                     

Most Popular Videos

Most Requested Stock Quotes
Alibaba Group

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

Most Requested ETF Quotes
Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF
Invesco QQQ
Vanguard Dividend Appreciation 
Vanguard High Dividend Yield does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.