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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 June 8.

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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.

A recent Morningstar study found that a low percentage of large-cap equity funds invest in private companies, and most that did so had small stakes. The study looked exclusively at large-cap equity funds and found that 70 funds had some level of investment in private companies. Those funds equate to just 5.8% of the 1,204 large-cap equity funds in Morningstar's database. Their level of private-company investments accounted for $7.7 billion in assets in aggregate, or about 0.15% of the large-cap equity universe's $5.1 trillion tally as of December 2017.

It's a little bit of a paradox: Data has shown that over the medium and long term, stocks that are less volatile actually earn higher risk-adjusted returns than stocks that are highly volatile. To find some cheap low-volatility stocks with good prospects, we started with an index that tracks the 100 least volatile stocks in the S&P 500, with volatility measured by standard deviation over the trailing 12 months. We then focused only on firms that have economic moats of wide or narrow and ranked that subset by lowest price/fair value. See the 10 low-volatility stocks that made our list.

The CME Fedwatch tool, which is based on CME Group 30-Day Fed fund futures prices, on Friday was predicting with greater than 90% probability that the Federal Open Market Committee will raise interest rates a quarter point to a range of 1.75% to 2.00% at its June 13 meeting. 

Our Ultimate Stock-Pickers Team scours the most recent holdings of 26 investment managers to uncover investment ideas our equity analysts and top investment managers find attractive. In this article, the team looks at the top 10 stock holdings, the top 10 stocks purchases, and the top 10 sales (by conviction) among the investment managers' portfolios.

A trio of IRS forms can lead you astray regarding proper tax treatment of your retirement benefits. Morningstar contributor Natalie Choate, an estate planning and retirement benefits expert, walks readers through how to navigate them

Promising new ETFs are few and far between these days. The bulk of new funds being brought to market are increasingly niche, complex, and/or downright gimmicky. But hidden in this landscape are some potential gems. Director of global ETF research Ben Johnson takes a closer look at two promising ETFs that launched this year. 

Most Popular Articles 

Most Popular Videos  

Most Requested Stock Quotes
Berkshire Hathaway
General Electric

Most Requested Fund Quotes
Vanguard 500 Index
Fidelity Contrafund
T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth
PRIMECAP Odyssey Growth
Vanguard Total Stock Market Index

Most Requested ETF Quotes
Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF
PowerShares QQQ
Vanguard S&P 500 ETF
Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.