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Investing Specialists

Morningstar Runs the Numbers

We take a numerical look through this week's Morningstar research. Plus, our most popular articles and videos for the week ended May 18.

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Inspired by Harper's Index (with a tip of the hat to FiveThirtyEight's Significant Digits blog), Morningstar Runs the Numbers uses a numbers-based approach to highlight recent Morningstar research, along with some outside news stories.

Dividend growth funds focus on companies that have a history of increasing their dividends. Companies that regularly boost their dividends often have sustainable competitive advantages. A collection of such high-quality companies can make an excellent core holding. As such, even investors who aren't yield-seekers may find plenty to like among dividend growth funds. We asked our analysts to share three of their favorites

If you have a new graduate in your life, one of the best gifts you can give is a little bit of financial wisdom. (Of course, cold hard cash can help cement your message.) Rather than a whole lecture, financial advice doled out in bite-size pieces is more likely to sink in, says director of personal finance Christine Benz. She shares seven bits of financial advice to graduates to consider.  

Macy's is trading near its 52-week high after the department store reported first-quarter revenue growth of 3.6%. Equity analyst John Brick's enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that this gain came on top of a weak year-ago period, when sales tumbled 7.5%. In addition, the firm's 4.2% comparable-sales growth included a 250-basis-point boost from shifting its Friends and Family sale to the first quarter from the second. Brick believes Macy's faces a competitive landscape and sees the stock as modestly overvalued. 

According to this article on, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's lemon elderflower wedding cake will be made with 200 Amalfi lemons. It will also require 500 organic eggs from Suffolk, 20 kilograms of butter, 20 kilograms of flour, 20 kilograms of sugar, and 10 bottles of elderflower cordial from Sandringham, Queen Elizabeth's vacation estate in Norfolk.

More often than not, the quantitative, backward-looking Morningstar Rating for funds, or star rating, and the forward-looking fundamental Morningstar Analyst Rating are in general agreement. But there are times when there's a sharp contrast between the two. Director of manager research Russ Kinnel looks at seven Neutral-rated funds that had 5-star ratings as of the end of April.

If you're new to investing, the menu of choices can be overwhelming. We tried to make it very simple by searching our fund and ETF coverage lists for great starter funds. We looked for broad diversification, very low expenses, and funds with low investment minimums. Here are eight great options for beginners. 

We've raised our 2018 potash price forecast to $270 per metric ton, in line with our long-term forecast, as prices have been supported by reduced supply. From a valuation standpoint, potash producers are trading at a larger discount to fair value than the rest of our ag coverage, largely due to our long-term outlook that potash prices will remain flat in real terms while we forecast real price declines in nitrogen and phosphate.  Nutrien (NTR) and  Mosaic (MOS) offer the most upside based on current prices, as they trade at price/fair value ratios of 0.89 and 0.88, respectively.

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Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.