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Moat Stock Selection Drowns Out Factors

April 27, 2021

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The Morningstar® Wide Moat Focus IndexSM (the “Index”) has outperformed the Morningstar US Market Index by more than 300 basis points annually through March 2021 since its inception on February 14, 2007 (13.30% vs. 9.86%, respectfully). While the Index focuses on wide moat companies with sustainable competitive advantages (i.e., “quality” companies) that are also trading at attractive valuations relative to Morningstar’s assessment of fair value (i.e., value), the Index is certainly not a multi-factor strategy.

Two prevalent style risk factors throughout the Index’s history—low exposure to momentum and (somewhat counterintuitively) a low exposure to quality—have actually proven a headwind to Index performance over time. The overwhelming majority of the Index’s excess returns since inception cannot be explained by traditional factor risks. Instead, the risk factors contributing to excess returns are attributable to stock selection over value, momentum, quality, size, etc.

Risk Factor Attribution: It’s All about Stock Selection

Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index Cumulative Excess Returns vs. Morningstar US Market Index 1/2008 – 12/2020

Risk Factor Attribution: It is All about Stock Selection

Source: Morningstar. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Index performance is not illustrative of fund performance. For fund performance current to the most recent month-end, visit

You can read more on this topic in Morningstar Strategist Andrew Lane’s recent paper:

Click here to read the MOAT White Paper - Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index Through a Factor Lens

Click here to read the MOAT White Paper - Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index Through a Factor Lens

VanEck Vectors Morningstar Wide ETF (MOAT) seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses the price and yield performance of the Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index.

For further reading:

Important Disclosures

The information presented does not involve the rendering of personalized investment, financial, legal, or tax advice. Certain statements contained herein may constitute projections, forecasts and other forward looking statements, which do not reflect actual results, are valid as of the date of this communication and subject to change without notice. Information provided by third party sources are believed to be reliable and have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness and cannot be guaranteed. The information herein represents the opinion of the author(s), but not necessarily those of VanEck.

An investor cannot invest directly in an index. Returns reflect past performance and do not guarantee future results. Results reflect the reinvestment of dividends and capital gains, if any. Certain indices may take into account withholding taxes. Index returns do not represent Fund returns. The Index does not charge management fees or brokerage expenses, nor does the Index lend securities, and no revenues from securities lending were added to the performance shown.

Fair value estimate: the Morningstar analyst's estimate of what a stock is worth.

Price/Fair Value: ratio of a stock's trading price to its fair value estimate.

The Morningstar® Wide Moat Focus IndexSM was created and is maintained by Morningstar, Inc. Morningstar, Inc. does not sponsor, endorse, issue, sell, or promote the VanEck Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat ETF and bears no liability with respect to that ETF or any security. Morningstar® is a registered trademark of Morningstar, Inc. Morningstar® Wide Moat Focus IndexSM is a service mark of Morningstar, Inc.

The Morningstar® Wide Moat Focus IndexSM consists of U.S. companies identified as having sustainable, competitive advantages and whose stocks are attractively priced, according to Morningstar.

The Morningstar® US Market Index represents 97% of the U.S. stock market capitalization.

Effective June 20, 2016, Morningstar implemented several changes to the Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index construction rules. Among other changes, the index increased its constituent count from 20 stocks to at least 40 stocks and modified its rebalance and reconstitution methodology. These changes may result in more diversified exposure, lower turnover and longer holding periods for index constituents than under the rules in effect prior to this date.

An investment in the VanEck Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat ETF (MOAT®) may be subject to risks which include, among others, investing in equity securities, consumer discretionary, consumer staples, financials, health care, industrials and information technology sectors, medium-capitalization companies, market, operational, index tracking, authorized participant concentration, no guarantee of active trading market, trading issues, passive management, fund shares trading, premium/discount risk and liquidity of fund shares, non-diversification and concentration risks, which may make these investments volatile in price or difficult to trade. Medium-capitalization companies may be subject to elevated risks.

Investing involves substantial risk and high volatility, including possible loss of principal. An investor should consider a Fund's investment objective, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus and summary prospectus for VanEck Funds and VanEck Vectors ETFs which contain this and other information, call 800.826.2333 or visit Please read the prospectus and summary prospectus for VanEck Funds and VanEck Vectors ETFs carefully before investing.

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