The Morningstar Factor Profile helps sort out investment factors.
A middling employment report is unlikely to give the central bank the cover it needs to raise rates in the face of mixed economic data.
The fund firm has been dominating the market with a low-fee promise, and as it gains scale, it becomes even harder to compete with.
Tax-equivalent yields show how muni investing can pay off even for investors of more modest means.
Questions over the U.K.'s separation terms, possible economic fallout, and the future of the EU itself could upset the markets in fits and starts for months to come, says Morningstar markets research analyst Tim Strauts.
Short-term problems may have slowed growth, but emerging economies are still likely to grow at above-average rates as they close the gap with developed countries.
Because they preferred fixed income over U.S. equities in 2009-2012, many investors missed out on the best returns of the bull market.
Our investor return data point illustrates the dangers of performance-chasing.
Among Germany, Japan, U.S., and the U.K., only the U.S. yield curve is normal today, supported by low unemployment, positive economic growth, and normalizing Fed policy.
The underperformance of active funds, on average, versus passive means that investors need to aim for the best when choosing to go active.
High-yield bonds have been thrown into turmoil because of falling oil prices, but excluding the energy sector, high-yield spreads have only risen slightly.
The percentage retirees can draw from their portfolios without running out of money has varied widely depending on the retirement start date.
Of the three major central banks to employ quantitative easing, the Federal Reserve has made the biggest economic impact because it acted first.
PIMCO outflows and the continued growth of ETFs and alternative funds have had a big impact on fund flows this year.
While inflation remains low and the Fed remains unlikely to increase rates dramatically in the next year, defaults pose the biggest threat, says Morningstar's Tim Strauts.
Rising interest rates will temporarily hurt bond returns, but high inflation is much more damaging to bond portfolios.
Markets bounce back from event-based shocks much faster than big bear-market-related sell-offs.
In the coming years, we see passive fund assets reaching parity with active funds.
Real assets, such as commodities, tend to perform better than other asset classes during periods of restrictive monetary policy.
Starting withdrawals as a bear market hits can seriously impair the sustainability of a retirement portfolio over time.
Since 2003, the lowest-cost mutual funds have taken the lion's share of assets as the benefits of low fees became widely recognized and advisors moved away from commission-based accounts.
The U.S. economy is bouncing back from first-quarter headwinds, but in the long run it can't grow more than about 1.5% per year, says David Kelly, chief global strategist for J.P. Morgan Funds.
While poor timing decisions continue to drag on investor returns in most fund categories, the data suggest that automatic 401(k) enrollment and dollar-cost averaging have benefited target-date fundholders over time.
Despite the recent currency-hedging craze, long-term investors would probably get better returns and greater diversification from a traditional unhedged fund when investing abroad.
In the years ahead, passive flows will likely top active in the U.S. while continuing to grow in fixed income and international regions.
Low-fee funds have given investors the best chance of success over the long term.
Both factors dramatically cut historical stock and bond returns, stressing the importance of tax-advantaged accounts and inflation-beating strategies.
Current market valuations present few attractive buying opportunities, but large-value stocks represent one of the few undervalued areas of the style box.
While the S&P 500's dividend yield has hovered around 2%, the more-volatile buyback yield has been consistently higher in recent years, making the total yield near 5%.
Russian stocks are incredibly cheap, but with serious concerns about rule of law and low oil prices, potential investors risk permanent loss of capital.
Passive investors still prefer low-cost vehicles to pricier strategic-beta funds, while active investors are considering relative performance and risk level as well as cost.
In recent years, passive U.S. equity investments have had strong inflows; however, investors are still finding value in active management for fixed-income holdings.
The valuation advantage that small caps have had over the last 14 years is no longer prevalent.
Our quantitative valuation ratings are showing the best opportunities are in Asia and emerging markets, while North America is fairly valued.
Following a sell-off, high-uncertainty, no-moat companies look cheapest today, but large-value investments may be a better bet.
While credit spreads are rising, they're still well below long-term averages, suggesting that would-be high-yield investors may want to wait for a more opportune moment.
An end to quantitative easing and increase in U.S. exports has boosted the dollar, which could be an earnings headwind for U.S. firms with international operations.
Our chart of the week shows the dramatic impact that taxes can have on take-home returns over time.
The timing of retirement amid the market cycle, as well as allocation to stocks, are key drivers for retirement withdrawal rates, says Morningstar's Tim Strauts.
Russia, Brazil, and China stocks are comparatively cheaper than developed-nation stocks today, according to Morningstar’s quantitative valuation data.
Valuations are high, but Morningstar's quantitative equity ratings uncover two key areas to consider.
In comparison with 10-year bonds of other developed markets, U.S. Treasuries offer a better yield that also has not declined in the past year.
Job growth has slowed significantly in the past 15 years, and with ongoing advances in automation and technology, rising employment will likely remain tepid.
Data shows that an investor is better served by sticking to a strategic asset allocation plan and filtering out the noise of the market.
High-dividend-paying stocks tend to outperform all other equities during long time horizons, but they are the worst performers when interest rates increase.
Although joblessness in some developed economies has decreased in the last year, several European countries are still seeing double-digit unemployment rates.
Investors who can stomach some volatility should look at closed-end muni-bond funds, which are currently trading at substantial discounts.
Despite their historical diversifying qualities, these funds will maintain a partial correlation with equities as long as investors remain interested.
Passively managed funds have surged in popularity during the last decade and could soon overtake active management as the dominant portfolio strategy.
Near-term inflation expectations are low, but fixed-income investors cannot overlook the negative impact inflation has on long-run returns.