What Investors Were Researching in September
International opportunities, income, and M&A activity were on investors' minds in September.
Stocks rebounded in September, with the S&P 500 gaining more than 3% after slipping 3% in August.
The big news in the month was the Fed's surprise decision not to taper its bond purchases at its September meeting. The central bank had been preparing the markets for months that it was likely to begin taking its foot off the accelerator a bit. But worries about the fiscal situation and a downgraded growth forecast had the Fed staying put. The stock market soared on the announcement before pulling back slightly. Treasury bonds also rallied in the month. The yield on the 10-year bond started the month at 2.86% and climbed to nearly 3.00% before falling to 2.64%.
Economic news pointed to continued slow, but reasonably steady, growth in the month. Inflation remained very low, consumer spending was more of a mixed picture, and there were some signs from retailers about softness through the holiday season. Morningstar director of economic analysis Bob Johnson still sees the data as consistent with 2.00%-2.25% GDP growth.
Against this backdrop, what were investors checking out on Morningstar.com during the month? Below are the 25 most viewed stock, mutual fund, and exchange-traded fund Analyst Reports in September.
|Most Viewed Stock Analyst Reports in September 2013|
|Name||Ticker||Moat||Star Rating||September Return|
|Kinder Morgan Ptns||KMP||Wide||-2.1%|
|Kinder Morgan||KMI||Wide|| ||-6.2%|
|Baxter Intl||BAX||Wide|| ||-4.9%|
|National Oilwell Varco||NOV||Wide||5.5%|
|Potash Corp||POT||Wide|| ||5.5%|
|Halcon Resources||HK||None|| |
|Source: Morningstar, Return Data as of Sept. 30, Star Ratings as of Oct. 3. |
As a whole, stocks were higher in the month, but Morningstar.com readers showed plenty of interest in shares that had sold off in September. The most researched firm, Express Scripts (ESRX), came under pressure as fears about health-care reform mounted. Our analysts think these worries are overblown and still see significant opportunity in this wide-moat firm.
J.C. Penney (JCP) landed in the top 25 as its shares plummeted nearly 30% after the company had a major equity issuance to raise cash to help firm up the troubled retailer's financial position.
The $130 billion Verizon Communications (VZ) paid Vodafone (VOD) for the 45% stake of Verizon Wireless that it didn't already own put both of these firms in the spotlight in September. Canadian telecom Rogers Communications (RCI) also popped onto the list after Verizon's move to buy its wireless unit meant that it wouldn't bid for spectrum to enter the Canadian market.
|Most Viewed Open-End Fund Analyst Reports in September 2013|
|Name||Ticker||Morningstar Category||Star Rating||September Return|
|Vanguard Div Growth||VDIGX||Large Blend||3.1%|
|Oakmark Intl||OAKIX||Foreign Lg Blend||7.0%|
|Dodge & Cox Intl Stk||DODFX||Foreign Lg Blend||8.1%|
|Vanguard Wellington||VWELX||Mod Allocation||2.3%|
|T. Rowe Health Sci||PRHSX||Health||5.8%|
|Vanguard Convert Sec||VCVSX||Convertibles||3.2%|
|Dodge & Cox Stock||DODGX||Large Value||4.4%|
|FPA Crescent||FPACX||Mod Allocation||2.0%|
|Vanguard Sel Value||VASVX||Mid-Cap Value||5.0%|
|Dodge & Cox Income||DODIX||Interm-Term Bond||0.8%|
|PRIMECAP Oddsy Ag Gr ||POAGX||Mid-Cap Growth||6.7%|
|Vguard Wellesley Inc||VWINX||Cons Allocation||1.6%|
|Vanguard Cap Opp||VHCOX||Large Growth||5.5%|
|Artisan Intl Value||ARTKX||Foreign Lg Blend||5.1%|
|T. Rowe Cap App||PRWCX||Mod Allocation||2.2%|
|Dodge & Cox Bal||DODBX||Mod Allocation||3.1%|
|PIMCO Total Return||PTTRX||Interm-Term Bond||1.8%|
|Fidelity High Income||SPHIX||High Yield Bond||1.0%|
|Vang Hgh-Yld Tax Exmpt||VWAHX||Muni Ntl Interm||1.0%|
|Met West Ttl Rtn Bnd||MWTRX||Interm-Term Bond||2.6%|
|Vanguard PRIMECAP||VPMCX||Large Growth||5.0%|
|PRIMECAP Oddsy Stk||POSKX||Large Blend||3.6%|
|Fidelity Sel Biotech||FBIOX||Health||8.9%|
|Source: Morningstar, Data as of Sept. 30, Star Ratings as of Oct. 3.|
Foreign large-blend funds had a great month. The category returned nearly 7%, and two Gold-rated funds, Oakmark International (OAKIX) (now closed to new investors) and Dodge & Cox International Stock (DODFX) landed in the top three most researched funds.
Income remained a top priority for fund investors. Interest was high in core income-focused funds such as Vanguard Dividend Growth (VDIGX) and more specialty products like Vanguard Convertible Securities (VCVSX).
|Most Viewed ETF Analyst Reports in September 2013|
|Vanguard Dividend Appreciation||VIG||3.8%|
|Vanguard Total Stock Market||VTI||3.7%|
|Vanguard High Div Yield||VYM||2.3%|
|WisdomTree Emerg Mkt Sm Cp Div||DGS||7.2%|
|Vanguard FTSE Emerg Markets||VWO||7.1%|
|Vanguard FTSE Developed Mkts||VEA||7.5%|
|Vanguard FTSE Europe||VGK||6.9%|
|Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US||VEU||7.2%|
|WisdomTree Emerging Mkt Equity||DEM||7.0%|
|iShares Barclays TIPS Bond||TIP||1.5%|
|Vanguard Small Cap||VB||5.7%|
|Vanguard Consumer Stpls||VDC||1.6%|
|PowerShares Sr Loan Port||BKLN||0.1%|
|WisdomTree SmallCap Div||DES||5.7%|
|Vanguard REIT Index||VNQ||3.3%|
|Financial Select Sector SPDR||XLF||2.8%|
|JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index||AMJ||2.2%|
|ALPS Alerian MLP||AMLP||1.7%|
|iShares Core S&P Small-Cap||IJR||6.2%|
|Vanguard Total Bnd Mkt||BND||1.0%|
|iShares Nasdaq Biotech||IBB||8.2%|
|Vanguard Extended Mkt Index||VXF||6.0%|
|Vanguard Info Tech||VGT||3.9%|
|Source: Morningstar, Data as of Sept. 30.|
Vanguard Dividend Appreciation (VIG) retained is most researched ETF crown in September. Investors also had a strong appetite for foreign-equity funds as Vanguard FTSE Europe (VGK), WisdomTree Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend (DGS) and Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (VWO) were among the most researched. ETF asset-flows data also revealed interest in international-equity ETFs with an estimated $12.8 billion flowing into these funds versus $11.8 billion into U.S.-equity ETFs.
Jeremy Glaser has a position in the following securities mentioned above: MSFT. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.