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10 High-Conviction Purchases by Our Ultimate Stock-Pickers

Our top managers continue to put money into wide-moat firms.

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By Greggory Warren, CFA | Senior Stock Analyst

The market rally continued unabated during the fourth quarter, with the S&P 500 TR Index rising more than 10% to finish the year up more than 30% overall. This was the strongest showing for U.S. stocks since 2009, when the market closed out the year up more than 26% (after rising 60%-plus off its early March 2009 lows), and was the S&P 500's best annual return since 1997. Little seemed to deter the market during 2013, from the rapid rise in interest rates in May/June, as the Federal Reserve announced it would start tapering its asset purchasing program before the end of last year, to the government shutdown in the fall, which once again demonstrated the paralysis created by the hyperpartisanship that dominates our politics. That said, the fact that there was enough bipartisan support to pass a budget deal at the end of 2013, and a clean debt ceiling resolution earlier this month (which does not raise the debt limit by a set amount but does suspend it through March 2015), should be viewed as a near-term positive for the market.

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The Morningstar Ultimate Stock-Pickers Team does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.