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By Jason Stipp | 11-05-2010 11:27 AM

Five Findings from the Morningstar Stocks Forum

Markets editor Jeremy Glaser shares his Forum takeaways on the consumer, the economy, the Fed, and more.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar, and welcome the Friday Five.

Morningstar is finishing up its annual Stocks Forum today. Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser was on the scene, and he's here with me to offer five big takeaways from the forum.

Jeremy, thanks for joining me.

Jeremy Glaser: Thanks, Jason. It was a great conference.

Stipp: So what do you have for the Friday Five this week?

Glaser: At the forum we got some interesting information from General Mills, some more color around quantitative easing, we heard about for-profit education, we heard from FedEx, and finally, from AT&T.

Stipp: So certainly the consumer has been on a lot of investors' minds recently. General Mills a big player in the consumer market. Tell us a little bit about what they had to say, and what their outlook is for how consumers are spending.

Glaser: General Mills is one of those rare companies that touches almost every consumer in the United States, which I think gives them a really good perspective as to how the consumer is feeling. And they said that people are a little bit less fearful. Unlike at the height of the recession when people just wouldn't even buy yogurt, people are at the grocery store, they're buying, they're especially at a Costco or a Wal-Mart, they're out there buying. But the problem is that they're not necessarily willing to pay full price anymore. They're not necessarily willing to try a lot of new and interesting products.

This is in sharp contrast to the emerging-market consumer, which has been really strong for General Mills. They are out there; they're trying new products. These are a lot of consumers who are buying packaged goods, packaged food products for the first time.

In China [General Mills] launched a line of frozen noodles and frozen dumplings that have been doing very well for them. It shows the emerging-market consumer really could be driving us out of this recession, while the United States consumer gets back on their feet.

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