Skip to Content
Investing Specialists

Why Moat Trends Matter

Morningstar StockInvestor editor Matt Coffina explains the importance of understanding whether an economic moat is expanding, shrinking, or staying the same over time.

Mentioned: , , , , , , , , ,

Longtime followers of Morningstar's equity research are likely familiar with our economic moat ratings. Companies with wide economic moats have the strongest possible competitive advantages. Companies with narrow economic moats also have strong competitive positions, but we don't expect their advantages to last as long as those of wide-moat companies.

You are probably less familiar with our moat trend ratings. We don't generally publish our moat trend ratings on, though we occasionally mention them in notes and reports. The moat trend rating describes how a company's competitive position is changing over time, and can be either "positive," indicating the competitive position is strengthening; negative, indicating the competitive position is weakening; or stable. Moat trends are an important part of my investment process for Morningstar StockInvestor's Tortoise and Hare model portfolios, and subscribers can find moat trend data on a variety of companies on StockInvestor's website,

Matthew Coffina has a position in the following securities mentioned above: XOM, JNJ, EPD, PEP, BIDU, ESRX, EBAY, CMP, MA, ORCL, CERN, MSFT. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.

We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.

We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.

How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:

  • Verify your identity, personalize the content you receive, or create and administer your account.
  • Provide specific products and services to you, such as portfolio management or data aggregation.
  • Develop and improve features of our offerings.
  • Gear advertisements and other marketing efforts towards your interests.

To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.

Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.

To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.

Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.