Investment Strategy
Tortoise Portfolio. The objective of Morningstar, Inc.’s Tortoise Portfolio is to focus on “high-quality” businesses, defined as having both durable competitive advantages and strong balance sheets. These are often well-established market leaders with economic moats (preferably wide). Morningstar’s aim for the portfolio is to generate risk-adjusted returns that outperform the S&P 500 over a full market cycle.

Hare Portfolio. The objective of Morningstar, Inc.’s Hare Portfolio is to seek long-term capital appreciation ahead of the S&P 500 Index, focusing on companies with strong and growing competitive advantages. Morningstar is willing for the Hare to accept greater risk in exchange for higher total return potential.

About the Editor
David Harrell is the editor of the Morningstar StockInvestor, a monthly newsletter that focuses on a wide-moat stock investing strategy. For illustration purposes, issues highlight activities pertaining to Morningstar, Inc. portfolios invested in accordance with a strategy that seeks to focus on companies with stable or growing competitive advantages. David served in several senior research and product development roles and was part of the editorial team that created and launched He was the co-inventor of Morningstar's first investment advice software.

David joined Morningstar in 1994. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Skidmore College and a master's degree in biology from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Our Portfolio Managers

Matthew Coffina, CFA, is the portfolio manager for Morningstar Investment Management LLC’s Hare strategy. Matt was previously a senior healthcare analyst, covering managed care and pharmaceutical services companies. Matt also developed the discounted cash flow model used by Morningstar analysts to assign fair value estimates to most of the companies in its global coverage universe.

Matt joined Morningstar in 2007. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Oberlin College and also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Michael Corty, CFA, is the portfolio manager for Morningstar Investment Management LLC’s Tortoise strategy. Before focusing his attention on the Tortoise, Michael co-managed five equity strategies offered by Morningstar Investment Management LLC and Morningstar Investment Services LLC since December 2013. Michael was previously a senior equity analyst on Morningstar Inc.’s equity research team covering companies in the media, business services, and consumer industries. Michael also spent several years on Morningstar’s moat committee, which assigns economic moat and moat trend ratings to their global coverage.

Prior to joining Morningstar in 2004, Michael worked at a public accounting firm and in the business lending arm of a major commercial bank. He has an undergraduate accounting degree from Loyola Marymount University, an MBA from Cornell University and is a CFA charterholder.

About the Editor David Photo
David Harrell
Editor, Morningstar StockInvestor
David Harrell is the editor of the Morningstar StockInvestor, a monthly newsletter that focuses on a wide-moat stock investing strategy. For illustration purposes, issues highlight activities pertaining to accounts owned by Morningstar, Inc.
Current Issue
Past Issues
Investment Strategy
Morningstar StockInvestor is intended for self-directed investors who have not hired an investment adviser to provide advisory services and do not reflect the deduction of any advisory fees. Your subscription may only be used for your own personal, noncommercial use and not for any use on behalf of any third party. It may not be used to service, or otherwise perform work on behalf of, any brokerage, financial services or related person(s) or their clients.
Featured Posts
Fair Value Update for Mastercard
Please see new analyst notes and updates below from Morningstar Research Services for Amazon AMZN, Berkshire BRK.B, CarMax KMX, and Mastercard MA.

Best wishes,

Peggy Seemann
Publisher, Morningstar StockInvestor

Amazon: We Doubt Amazon Is Broken Up by the FTC and Instead See a Relatively Minor Fine
by Dan Romanoff, CPA | Morningstar Research Services LLC | 09-27-23

We are maintaining our fair value estimate of $150 per share for wide-moat Amazon as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, was joined by 17 state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the company for a variety of alleged anticompetitive practices. Our initial opinion is that a settlement is the most likely outcome, with a fine being levied and possibly some minor changes in business practices, and we are highly skeptical that Amazon will be broken up. Shares still appear modestly undervalued to us.

The legal filing seeks unspecified remedies but appears to skew toward structural changes, rather than fines, and may seek to break up Amazon. We struggle to come up with a recent relevant precedent for doing so, as U.S. courts have been applying a framework that revolves around consumer welfare for more than four decades. In this case, it is difficult to see how an Amazon breakup would clearly benefit U.S. consumers. Regardless, we think this legal matter will take years to wind its way through the courts.

In the highly unlikely event of a breakup, it is possible that new investors may focus on certain parts of the business (like AWS), and the sum of the parts might be greater than the whole. However, our wide moat rating around the retail business is based on cost advantages, intangible assets, and network effects, and would clearly be threatened depending on the exact nature of a theoretical breakup.

Nonetheless, we think the most likely outcome of this legal matter is a settlement that involves Amazon paying a relatively small fine and ceasing certain business practices. The largest fine ever levied by the FTC was for $5 billion on Facebook in 2019. A $5 billion fine would be less than 1% of the firm's market cap. To date, we have seen various governments around the world attacking mega-cap tech companies without achieving a win that materially affects any of these businesses, so we are skeptical this action against Amazon will be meaningfully different.

Overall, we view the claims contained in the lawsuit as spurious. The FTC alleges Amazon employs antidiscounting practices, forces third-party sellers to use fulfilment by Amazon in order to be included in Prime filtering, degrades customer experience, bias' search results to favor Amazon's products over other sellers, forces sellers to use Amazon advertising, and charges excessive fees, among other anticompetitive practices. Unsurprisingly, Amazon believes the prosecutors are wrong on the facts, misunderstand the basics of competition, and are misleading within their claims. Further, a variety of practices the firm is accused of are no longer executed.

Acquisitions, Higher Short-Term Rates, and Improved Equity Markets Have Lifted Berkshire's Value
by Greggory Warren| Morningstar Research Services LLC | 09-29-23

We continue to believe that Berkshire, owing to its diversification and its lower overall risk profile, offers one of the better risk-adjusted return profiles in the financial-services sector (and remains a generally solid candidate for downside protection during market selloffs). We remain impressed by Berkshire's ability in most years to generate high-single- to double-digit growth in book value per share, comfortably above our estimate of its cost of capital. We also believe it will take some time before the firm finally succumbs to the impediments created by the sheer size and scale of its operations, and that the ultimate departure of Warren Buffett and Charles Munger will have less of an impact on future operating results than many investors believe. We view Berkshire's decentralized business model, broad business diversification, high cash-generation capabilities, and unmatched balance sheet strength as true differentiators for the firm.

While these advantages have been overshadowed during much of the past decade by the company's ever expanding cash balanceswhich earned next to nothing in a near-zero short-term interest rate environmentwe believe the company has finally hit a nexus where it is focused on reducing its cash hoard through a mixture of stock investments and share repurchases. Over the past 12 calendar quarters, the company has repurchased close to $60 billion worth of its common stock, equivalent to $4.9 billion per quarter on average, which has eliminated just over 10% of the company's total shares outstanding. The company has also pursued higher dividend yielding securities when purchasing equity securities and is benefiting from higher short-term rates on its cash balances. With the firm closing out June 2023 with an estimated $107 billion in dry powder and valuations not quite where they need to be for many of the types of quality assets Buffett would prefer to acquire outright, we expect the bulk of the company's excess capital allocation to be focused on stock and bond investments and share repurchases.

CarMax Earnings: Some Improvements Visible but Recovery Has a Long Way To Go
by David Whiston, CFA, CPA, CFE | Morningstar Research Services LLC | 09-28-23

CarMax's stock declined by over 11% on Sept. 28 after reporting fiscal 2024 second-quarter diluted EPS of $0.75 that fell 5.1% year over year and missed the Refinitiv consensus of $0.78. We see no reason to change our fair value estimate because we continue to expect CarMax's profit to improve from recent levels once used vehicle affordability improves. Vehicle affordability will improve gradually over a long time due to poor late model used vehicle supply following the pandemic and chip shortage and from some less affluent customers unable or unwilling to pay higher interest rates than a few years ago.

We believe management is doing the best it can to control expenses and how much inventory to buy when pricing declines rapidly, as it did in June and July. For example, inventory reductions from the fiscal first quarter, by our calculations, helped adjusted free cash flow more than triple year over year and rise seven-fold from the fiscal first quarter to $686.6 million. Other improvements, although still headwinds, include comparable store unit sales down 9%, which was the first single-digit decline in three straight quarters, and average retail selling price down 4% year over year to $27,500. This level is still causing consumer affordability problemswhich is understandable given prepandemic ASPs of around $20,000.

Management said that over 25% of inventory is priced below $20,000, but we suspect those vehicles are not that desirable. The company also says it has strong demand across all consumer credit spectrums but many midtier to subprime consumers often don't close the deal once they see the high monthly payment offered. We don't see that problem abating until interest rates fall or stop rising, and we have more years of robust new vehicle sales to create future used vehicle supply. We are glad to see the company announce it intends to resume share repurchases in the fiscal third quarter. We believe CarMax's stock is rarely undervalued, and the chip shortage has disrupted used vehicle pricing enough to make the stock cheap for an extended period of time, so management should take advantage of these times when able. Buybacks have not occurred since a small amount was repurchased during fiscal 2023's third quarter. CFO Enrique Mayor-Mora said on the call that buybacks will initially be at around $50 million a quarter rather than the prior quarterly rate of about $150 million to offset annual dilution. We assume he means dilution from stock-based compensation.

CarMax Auto Finance income fell by 26.2% on a 120-basis-point decline in interest margin before loan losses to 6.1% and the loan loss provision as a percent of average managed receivables rising by 20 basis points to 2.1%. The impact of recent Federal Reserve rate increases bleeds into CAF's portfolio over time rather than abruptly due to interest income on loan assets recognized across roughly five years, with 70% of the recognition in Years 2 and 3, so we don't expect interest margin expansion in near-term future results. However, 6.1% is level from the fiscal first quarter and was in the high 5% range just before the pandemic started. CAF's collateral spread, which is the difference between CAF's funding costs and rates charged to customers, was 4.9% in the most recent asset back securities deal, known as 2023-3. This is a 60-basis-point improvement from the prior ABS deal (2023-2) and the third straight deal that the spread increased after bottoming at 3.17% for 2022-4. The spread in calendar 2019 ranged between 5.26% and 6.53% and was in the high 7% range in 2021 before the Fed started raising rates. Although the loan loss provision increased by 18.9% year over year due to unfavorable credit performance, earlier CAF standard tightening has enabled the allowance for loan losses at Aug. 31 to be 3.08%, down from 3.11% at May 31, so we are not concerned about the quarter's results indicating a major credit quality problem starting to emerge.

Mastercard Enjoys a Wide Moat and Good Growth Prospects
by Brett Horn | Morningstar Research Services LLC | 09-28-23

Mastercard has multiple characteristics that should draw investors' attention. First, despite the evolution in the payment space, we think a wide moat surrounds the business and view Mastercard's position in the current global electronic payment infrastructure as essentially unassailable. Second, Mastercard benefits from the ongoing shift toward electronic payments, which provides plenty of opportunities to utilize its wide moat to create value over the long term. Digital payments, on a global basis, surpassed cash payments just a few years ago, suggesting that this trend still has a lot of room to run, and we think emerging markets could offer a further leg of growth even as growth in developed markets starts to slow. Finally, Mastercard is something of a tollbooth business, and the company is relatively agnostic to smaller shifts in the electronic payment space, as it earns fees regardless of whether payment is credit, debit, or mobile.

Mastercard has not been without issues recently. Cross-border transactions, which are particularly lucrative for the networks, came under heavy pressure due to the fallout from the pandemic and a reduction in global travel. We expected a full recovery, and that has largely played out, although the ongoing bounceback remains a tailwind. From a longer-term point of view, we think it is likely that smaller and more regional networks are building out capacity for cross-border transactions, which could eat into growth a bit in the coming years, but we haven't seen a material effect yet.

In the near term, we see the state of the economy as Mastercard's biggest risk. A downturn in the economy would slow overall growth, as Mastercard's revenue is sensitive to the volume and dollar amount of consumer transactions. The company saw growth decline significantly during the early stages of the pandemic. But we don't see any industry trends that will impede Mastercard's ability to maintain double-digit growth in the coming years, and the company looks poised to continue to modestly outperform its larger peer, Visa.

We are increasing our fair value estimate for Mastercard to $406 per share from $389, due mainly to time value since our last update. Our new fair value estimate equates to 28.1 times projected 2024 earnings, adjusted for one-time expenses. While revenue declined in 2020 due to the coronavirus and that issue bled into the start of 2021, growth has since bounced back quickly. We think secular trends and improving share should allow Mastercard to maintain strong growth rates over the next five years. We project net revenue to grow at a 12% compound annual growth rate. In part, this growth rate hinges on the bounceback that we expect to occur over time in cross-border volumes. But we believe Mastercard can maintain low-double-digit growth even in the back half of our projection period. We think growth will be increasingly fueled by international markets, and Mastercard's mix leaves it relatively well positioned. While margins have held roughly level recently and were pressured in 2020, we think the company can achieve some modest margin expansion over time, and we project operating margins (based on net revenue) to improve from 57% in 2022 to 60% by 2027. We assume the increase in client incentives as a percentage over revenue slows a bit, following fairly strong increases in recent years. Given the company's history of fines and one-time charges, we include ongoing one-time costs roughly in line with historical averages in our projections, but these costs are excluded from the margin levels above. We use a cost of equity of 9%.


StockInvestorSM focuses on the activities of portfolios of Morningstar, Inc. that are invested in accordance with the Tortoise and Hare strategies. These portfolios are managed by Morningstar Investment Management LLC, a registered investment adviser, which manages other client portfolios using these strategies.

Investment research is produced and issued by subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc. including, but not limited to, Morningstar Research Services LLC, registered with and governed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Analyst ratings are subjective in nature and should not be used as the sole basis for investment decisions. Analyst ratings are based on Morningstar's analysts' current expectations about future events and therefore involve unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause such expectations not to occur or to differ significantly from what was expected. Analyst ratings are not guarantees nor should they be viewed as an assessment of a stock's creditworthiness. Ratings, analysis, and other analyst thoughts are provided for informational purposes only; references to securities should not be considered an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities.

©2023 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved. The Morningstar name and logo are registered marks of Morningstar, Inc. The information contained in this document is the proprietary material of Morningstar, Inc. Reproduction, transcription, or other use, by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of Morningstar, Inc., is prohibited. All data presented is based on the most recent information available to Morningstar, Inc. as of the release date and may or may not be an accurate reflection of current data. There is no assurance that the data will remain the same.

Disclosure: The commentary, analysis, references to, and performance information contained within Morningstar® StockInvestorSM, except where explicitly noted, reflects that of portfolios owned by Morningstar, Inc. that are invested in accordance with the Tortoise and Hare strategies managed by Morningstar Investment Management LLC, a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc. References to "Morningstar" refer to Morningstar, Inc. and/or, where applicable, its affiliates.

Opinions expressed are as of the current date and are subject to change without notice. Morningstar, Inc. and Morningstar Investment Management LLC shall not be responsible for any trading decisions, damages, or losses resulting from, or related to, the information, data, analyses or opinions or their use. This commentary is for informational purposes only and has not been tailored to suit any individual.

The information, data, analyses, and opinions presented herein do not constitute investment advice, are provided as of the date written, are provided solely for informational purposes and therefore are not an offer to buy or sell a security. Please note that references to specific securities or other investment options within this piece should not be considered an offer (as defined by the Securities and Exchange Act) to purchase or sell that specific investment.

This commentary contains certain forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results to differ materially and/or substantially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by those projected in the forward-looking statements for any reason.

Investments in securities are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of principal. Prices of securities may fluctuate from time to time and may even become valueless. Securities in this report are not FDIC-insured, may lose value, and are not guaranteed by a bank or other financial institution. Before making any investment decision, investors should read and consider all the relevant investment product information. Investors should seriously consider if the investment is suitable for them by referencing their own financial position, investment objectives, and risk profile before making any investment decision. There can be no assurance that any financial strategy will be successful.

Common stocks are typically subject to greater fluctuations in market value than other asset classes as a result of factors such as a company's business performance, investor perceptions, stock market trends and general economic conditions.

All Morningstar Stock Analyst Notes were published by Morningstar, Inc. The Weekly Roundup contains all Analyst Notes that relate to holdings in Morningstar, Inc.'s Tortoise and Hare Portfolios. Morningstar's analysts are employed by Morningstar, Inc. or its subsidiaries. In the United States, that subsidiary is Morningstar Research Services LLC, which is registered with and governed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Peggy Seemann does not own stocks from the Tortoise and Hare Portfolios in her personal accounts.

Net Composite Performance
Composite Portfolios

The Tortoise and Hare strategies are managed by Morningstar Investment Management LLC. Morningstar Investment Management’s subsidiary offers these strategies through a discretionary investment advisory service (“Advisory Service”). The "Net of Fees" performance shown reflects the deduction of a model fee equal to the maximum advisory fee that could be charged to the strategy through Morningstar Investment Services’ advisory program, brokerage or other commissions, and other expenses that a client paid in connection with the advisory services they received, and are calculated by deducting these fees from the gross returns.

Customer Support
Product Support
Inquiries regarding your subscription such as address changes, missing/damaged issues, etc.
Phone: 1-800-957-6021 | Mon-Fri 8:30AM-5:00PM
Inquiries regarding technical issues such as logging in or downloading
Phone: 1-312-424-4288 | Mon-Fri 8AM-6PM
E-mail: [email protected]
Product Sales
Inquiries regarding your subscription renewal, billing or to learn about other Morningstar investment publications and resources
Phone: 1-866-608-9570 | Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM CST
E-mail: [email protected]
Contact Your Editor
About the Editor

David Harrell is the editor of the Morningstar StockInvestor, a monthly newsletter that focuses on a wide-moat stock investing strategy. For illustration purposes, issues highlight activities pertaining to accounts owned by Morningstar, Inc. invested in accordance with a strategy that seeks to focus on companies with stable or growing competitive advantages. David served in several senior research and product development roles and was part of the editorial team that created and launched He was the co-inventor of Morningstar's first investment advice software.

David joined Morningstar in 1994. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Skidmore College and a master's degree in biology from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Our Portfolio Managers

Michael Corty, CFA, is the Head of U.S. Equity Strategies and a Portfolio Manager for Morningstar Investment Management LLC. Michael joined the group as a portfolio manager in December 2013.

Previously, he was a senior equity analyst in Morningstar, Inc.'s equity research department where he also served as a voting member of the economic moat committee. Michael holds a bachelor's degree from Loyola Marymount University and an MBA from Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

Grady Burkett, CFA, is a Portfolio Manager with Morningstar Investment Management LLC. Grady joined the group as a portfolio manager in December 2022.

Prior to joining Morningstar Investment Management, Grady was an analyst and portfolio manager at Diamond Hill, an independent and registered investment adviser. Grady started his investment career in Morningstar, Inc.'s equity research department where he progressed in several roles on the technology sector team as an equity analyst, strategist, and director of the team. Grady received his B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics from Wright State University. He is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Columbus, Ohio

Investment Strategy

Tortoise Portfolio. The Tortoise targets undervalued companies that possess durable competitive advantages (as measured by their Morningstar Economic Moat Rating) and strong balance sheets.

Hare Portfolio. The Hare focuses on companies with strong and growing competitive advantages (as measured by their Morningstar Economic Moat Rating). It uses a “growth at a reasonable price” approach, seeking companies with above-average earnings-per-share growth whose shares are trading at reasonable multiples of earnings.