Brand power can create strong competitive advantages in the consumer sector, but cost advantages and network effects also can play big roles.
The health-care sector has a higher volume of moat firms compared with other industries, and companies' patent and brand power deliver very strong returns on capital.
Companies with fortified moats can stave off competition and tend to have better risk-adjusted returns than the broader market.
Despite some weak headline numbers, this week's economic data show ongoing year-over-year improvement, but they still don't change Morningstar's Bob Johnson's GDP outlook.
In this special one-hour presentation, Morningstar experts share their takes on how investors can navigate a world with slightly overvalued stocks, an uncertain interest-rate environment, and a slow-growing economy.
This week: Financial-services firms post lukewarm earnings, two tech giants strike a deal, Time Warner turns down a foxy offer, and more.
PIMCO Unconstrained Bond manager Mohit Mittal is taking a modest overweight in duration and sees three areas to find value in credit risk.
Companies are buying back shares at near-record levels, but Morningstar's Josh Peters says firms can serve shareholders much better with dividends rather than stock repurchases.
With the uptick in merger and acquisition activity, whether it be for tax-inversion or strategic reasons, investors should focus on the target company, which can benefit from the deal immediately.
This week: The Fed discloses an end to the taper, eurozone concerns resurface, and a cupcake firm crumbles.