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Navigating The Fiscal Cliff

Morningstar Investment Research

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November 17, 2012 - Navigating the Fiscal Cliff - by Morningstar Investment Research

One of the biggest question marks hanging over investors' heads right now is how, or if, Congress will fix the looming fiscal cliff. On Jan. 1, a slew of new tax changes and spending cuts is poised to take place.

The Bush-era tax cuts will expire, the alternative minimum tax will snare more taxpayers, the payroll tax holiday will sunset, and the new investment surtax to pay for the Affordable Care Act will take effect. On the spending side, defense, discretionary spending, and entitlement cuts are on deck, and unemployment insurance will be scaled back. All-in-all, the cuts and tax increases coul d amount, by some estimates, to more than $700 billion. But how likely are we to fall over the cliff?

We've complied Morningstar's take as well as outside expert opinions on the matter, and we'll update this page as negotiations continue, so be sure to check back regularly.

Among the other topics we addressed this week:

A Conservative Retirement Portfolio: The ETF Version. This asset mix is targeted toward risk-shy investors with time horizons of roughly 15 years.

New Ratings on Funds From TCW, PIMCO, Weitz, and T. Rowe Price. Our list of rated funds continues to grow.

Berkshire Sells More Legacy Holdings in 3Q. Trading activity picks up with Buffett's two lieutenants, Ted Weschler and Todd Combs.

What Makes a Grade A Fund Company. Two exemplary stewards of shareholder capital.

Maverick Fund Managers and Index Funds. Pay active management fees only for truly active management.

Moneyball Is a Hard Game to Play for Funds and Baseball Teams. Quant funds do what Billy Beane does, but neither one is a lock.

ING U.S. Files for IPO. Fund firms begin announcing year-end capital gains distributions, manager Lawrence Kemp leaves UBS, and former Fairholme manager Charlie Fernandez resurfaces.

Sizing Up the Drought's Impact on Tyson Foods. The market may be ignoring the boost in profitability that could occur with a bountiful 2013 crop.

Pyxis Launches Bank-Loan ETF. Research Affiliates settles its patent infringement lawsuit against WisdomTree, and Global X prepares a U.S.-only "SuperDividend" ETF. Plus, the week's best- and worst-performing ETFs.

Credit Rally Takes a Breather. Telecom, tech, and media credits weaken the most, while REITs, transportation, and insurance held up better.

Being Financially Prepa red for the Next Storm. Readers share their thoughts on plans you can make now, before a disaster strikes.

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