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Weekly Wrap: The Future of 401(k)s, Fund Returns, and Q3 Highlights

We recap the week on and note the most popular stocks, funds, and exchange-traded funds.

Editor's note: Read the latest on how the coronavirus is rattling the markets and what investors can do to navigate it.

No doubt investors are glad the third quarter is over. The stock market was volatile, rattled by a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, too-hot market valuations, and an acknowledgement that, yes, the Federal Reserve will begin to taper its asset purchase program. The market ended the quarter about where it began.

What can investors expect for the remainder of the year?

Morningstar chief U.S. market strategist Dave Sekera suggests that a pickup in the economy after a summer slowdown bodes well for value stocks. Further, while we think that inflation will moderate in 2022, we also think wide-moat stocks are the place to be if, in fact, inflation lasts a little longer. Why? Because wide-moat companies are better positioned to pass along cost increases than lower-quality companies may be.

On the sector front, our analysts expect inflation worries to dog the utilities sector. They believe oil consumption will continue to recover, though oil prices are frothy. They suspect the global chip shortage will stretch into mid-2022, which bodes well for chipmakers. And they suggest that investors will be "unpleasantly surprised" by second-half earnings from industrials.

They think downtrodden gaming stocks look attractive, that hotels and malls have years of strong growth ahead, and that consumers will begin to spend more on experiences instead of stuff.

Read more of the insights from our analysts in our third-quarter recap. And be sure to check out their top ideas for the remainder of the year.

--Susan Dziubinski

Editor's Picks

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4 Ways to Keep More of Your Funds' Returns Following a disciplined investment strategy can help you keep more of what your fund holdings earn.

Morningstar's Take on the Third Quarter Our analysis of the third quarter in stocks and funds.

How Are Hispanic Households Saving for the Future? Explaining low savings rates among Hispanic households.

The Best HSA Plans of 2021 Fidelity stands above the rest during our annual HSA checkup.

Can 401(k) Plans Better Serve Their Retired Workers? The next evolution of the 401(k) system.

Portfolio Planning and Personal Finance With Christine Benz

There's More to Investing Than Just Risk and Return In praise of what can't be measured.

Retiring Early? What to Keep in Mind Opting into the "Great Resignation" calls for mindful choices.

It's Open Enrollment Season. Have You Taken a Good Look at an HSA? For high-income investors who are maxing out other tax-sheltered accounts, the high-deductible healthcare plan/HSA combo is close to a no-brainer.

Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds

Vanguard Cuts Target-Date Fund Fees as Fidelity Continues to Gain Momentum Investors win again as two target-date behemoths continue to go toe-to-toe over which one is cheaper.

September ETF Inflows Hold Steady Amid Inflation, Interest-Rate Uncertainty A turbulent month in the markets doesn't throw ETF investors off course. 4 Funds That Investors Are Buying Flows data reveal these funds are among the favorites so far this year.


Supply Chains Snap Under Pressure Despite the massive disruption, we still see opportunities across some affected sectors.

The Snooze-Button Stock Market Have stocks really been "routed" and "roiled"? So far, not so much.

How Facebook Silences Shareholders Zuckerberg has veto power over investors thanks to Facebook's share class structure.

Stock Analyst Updates

More Risks Are Already Priced Into Facebook Shares While negative headlines over its policies will likely keep the social media giant under pressure, we view shares as undervalued currently.

Margins Fizzle for Wide-Moat PepsiCo in Q3 Profits cooled in the period, as supply chain disruptions and inflationary headwinds took a toll.

Rekenthaler Report

The Good News for Upcoming Retirees They can spend more from their nest eggs than first appears.

The Long View Podcast

Tadas Viskanta: Luck Plays a Big Role in Investing The financial blogger and Ritholtz director of investor education discusses direct indexing, retirement income, and his go-to resources for perspective on the markets and personal finance.

Sustainability Matters

Robinhood Enters the Realm of Proxy Voting Here's how the popular trading platform's recent acquisition is part of a bigger trend--and how it impacts investors.


3 Questions Investors Should Ask Their Financial Professional and the Disclosure That Should Answer Them We looked at the new Relationship Summaries that investors are receiving and found them missing key information.


Lynnette Khalfani-Cox: 'You Can't Borrow for Your Retirement' Parents shouldn't put themselves in financial jeopardy to pay for education, says this author and expert in college funding.

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