Morningstar’s ratings for economic moat capture how likely a company is to keep competitors at bay for an extended period. One of the keys to finding superior long-term investments is buying companies that will be able to stay one step ahead of their competitors. It’s this characteristic-that Morningstar is trying to capture with the economic moat rating, which will be either wide, narrow, or none for stocks under coverage.
4- and 5-Star Stocks
The stock star rating is calculated by comparing a stock’s current market price with Morningstar’s estimate of the stock’s fair value. The bigger the discount, the higher the star rating. Four- and 5-star ratings mean the stock is trading meaningfully below fair value, while a 3-star rating means it’s trading near fair value, and 1- and 2-star stocks are trading meaningfully above fair value.
Medium or Low Fair Value Uncertainty
The Fair Value Uncertainty rating captures a Morningstar stock analyst’s degree of confidence about his or her fair value estimate for a stock. Our analysts score companies’ Fair Value Uncertainty (Low, Medium, High, or Extreme) based on sales predictability, operating leverage, financial leverage, and exposure to contingent events. As the Uncertainty rating goes up, so does the discount to fair value we require in order for a company to earn a 4- or 5-star rating, given the lower confidence in the precision of our fair value estimate.