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Investment Themes for Advisors: A Quarterly Review

A look back at our most popular research from the third quarter of 2018

Tom Lauricella


To help you stay up-to-date on what your peers are reading, we’ve compiled a roundup of the top five investment themes that advisors have been reading about in Research Portal within Morningstar Cloud.

5 investment themes that financial advisors were thinking about last quarter:

  1. A trade war and rising rates weren’t enough to derail the bull market in the third quarter (although October was a different story). A look at third-quarter stock markets through the unique lens of the Morningstar Global Market Barometer shows how the U.S. and Japan paced the gains, but other major markets in Europe, along with China, struggled. At the same time, the Morningstar Style BoxTM highlighted the big gains posted by growth stocks. Index strategist Dan Lefkovitz recaps the quarter in a report available exclusively in Research Portal. Sign in to get access or take a free trial.
  2. Do you know a fund company’s average fund rating? The Morningstar Quantitative RatingTM for funds was first introduced last June. Since then, our quantitative research team has been putting this rating to work in new ways. One takeaway: By combining our fundamental analyst-driven fund rating with the Quantitative Rating, it’s possible to create an average fund rating for a money manager and track whether the firm’s fortunes are improving or declining. Read our analysis of how the rating has performed in its first year.
  3. Some active bond funds are bucking the active/passive trend . While many investors seem to have written off actively managed funds as unlikely to beat their benchmarks, the managers of intermediate bond funds are proving the naysayers wrong. Morningstar’s Active/Passive Barometer can help advisors assess where they stand the best chance of finding managers that outperform by comparing performance against comparable passive strategies (as opposed to an index in which clients can’t invest). Read highlights from the most recent report, including the good news for some active bond funds.
  4. Give your client presentations more heft… High-quality, client-ready presentations on investing and market trends are at your fingertips in the Morningstar Presentations Publication library in Morningstar Cloud. These FINRA-approved presentations include topics such as retirement investing, investing in a rising rate environment, and the popular chart book which tracks stocks, bonds, bills and inflation over the last nine decades.
  5.  … with even more charts. The quarterly Markets Observer is an in-depth chart book for global financial markets, mutual fund performance, asset flows and industry trends, as well as economic indicators. It offers nearly 50 pages of charts and tables. And for advisors, Morningstar provides a client-ready version that’s FINRA-approved. The second-quarter Observer highlighted gains in tech stocks, stretched valuations across investment classes and a shifting yield curve.

The Research Portal makes it easy to access Morningstar’s research and commentary from our expert teams of manager, stock, and credit analysts. Get a free trial of Morningstar Cloud to access more of the latest investment themes. All articles are available to current Morningstar Cloud subscribers .

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