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Fund Spy

Industry's Top Investors Talk about the Markets

Our coverage of the annual Morningstar Investment Conference.

It's not as well known as "Woodstock for Capitalists" (aka the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting), but Morningstar's Investment Conference is just as anticipated and exciting for us around here. Each year we invite some of our favorite investors, academics, and industry pundits to Chicago to discuss the current investing landscape. We kicked off this year's conference June 25, and it lasted through Friday, June 27.

At last year's conference, we heard several portfolio managers (including two prior Morningstar Managers of the Year, Jeff Gundlach and Bob Rodriguez) sounding alarm bells about how bad the unfolding subprime-mortgage debacle was apt to be and questioning the integrity of the ratings attached to those bonds. Those warnings were prescient; the subprime debacle reared its ugly head a few short months later, the effects of which ended up seeping well beyond bonds into unexpected corners of the market. We're still feeling the aftermath of that today.

So, what were the hot button issues this year? Mohammed El-Erian, who recently rejoined PIMCO as co-CIO and co-CEO after a two-year hiatus leading Harvard's endowment, kicked off the conference with a keynote address. For more on his presentation, read Morningstar fund analyst Karin Anderson's blog. El-Erian's big-picture thoughts helped frame the context for all the topics we heard about from our other speakers and panelists.

Our other keynote speakers had some unique perspectives to offer as well. On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal's personal-finance columnist, Jason Zweig, shared some insights from his recent book that examines how the brain reacts to money-related topics. (Click here to watch Morningstar fund analyst Christopher Davis' interview with Zweig.) And on Friday, T. Rowe Price CIO Brian Rogers shared his perspectives on the investment landscape and corporate governance issues. (Click to watch fund analyst Marta Norton's one-on-one discussion with Rogers.)

Morningstar's Don Phillips also had a one-on-one discussion with First Eagle's Jean-Marie Eveillard. Eveillard is rarely in an upbeat mood about the markets, but he has been a fan favorite at our conference in the past and has always brought off-the-beaten-path, contrarian investment ideas to our attendees. We plan to share interesting excerpts from that conversation with you.

Our panel discussions covered a broad variety of topics this year--everything from investing in real estate and Asia to one of our most popular sessions: Undiscovered Managers. We also heard some of the industry's heavy-hitters sound off about two of the quickest-growing corners of the fund world: exchange-traded funds and target-date funds.

Morningstar's fund and stock analysts were out in full force to bring you all of the best insights from our keynote speakers, panelists, and attendees. Bookmark this page and check back with us as we round out our conference coverage. We'll have videos with top fund managers, blog entries from our analysts who were on the ground, and articles that summarize some of the key takeaways. Here's what we have for you so far:

Mutual Funds or ETFs: A Lively Debate
Growth Managers Size Up the Market
Three High-Conviction Picks from Undiscovered Managers
Zweig: Beware of Your Brain
Berkowitz and Byrne on Bargains
Bill Bernstein on Bargains, Rebalancing, and Brains
Are Financial Stocks Misunderstood?
El-Erian: Yesterday's Market Colliding with Tomorrow's
El-Erian's New Book a Useful Guide for ETF Investors

Timeless Lessons from the Morningstar Conference
Emerging Markets: Opportunity or Trap?
Three of our Favorite Managers Talk Real Estate
Three Bond Investors Discuss Life After the Credit Crunch
Seasoned Managers Find Value in Surprising Places
Four Questions for Our All-Star Bond Panel
Speculate Without Losing Your Shirt

What Makes a Good ETF?
Hurdles to Active ETFs
Financials for a Growth Play?
T. Rowe Sticks to Knitting
Where to Look in an Uncertain Market
Where Are the Bond Values?
Your Brain vs. Your Portfolio
What Fairholme's Been Buying
El-Erian's Forward-View of the World
A Meeting of Great Investing Minds