Investment Strategy
We seek to pick winning funds with superior management and quantitative characteristics linked to strong performance. Our quantitative research uses the most comprehensive mutual fund database in the world to determine the best strategies for long-term investing success. We then supplement those studies with extensive qualitative research of portfolio managers, analysts, and traders through onsite visits and follow-up phone calls.
About the Editor
Russel Kinnel is director of manager research for Morningstar, Inc. and editor of Morningstar FundInvestor, a monthly print newsletter for individual investors. He also writes the Fund Spy column for, the company's investment Web site.

Since joining the company in 1994, Kinnel has covered the Fidelity, Janus, T. Rowe Price, and Vanguard mutual fund families. He helped develop the new Morningstar Rating for funds and the new Morningstar Style Box methodology. He also is co-author of the company's first book, The Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: 5-Star Strategies for Success, which was published in January 2003.

Jul 26, 2016
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About Russel Russ' Photo
Russel Kinnel,
Director of Manager Research and Editor, Morningstar FundInvestor
Russel Kinnel is director of manager research for Morningstar, Inc. and editor of Morningstar FundInvestor, a monthly print newsletter for individual investors.
Featured Posts
We're Downgrading a Junk-Bond Fund

MetWest High Yield Bond Downgraded
Karin Anderson explains why we downgraded Metropolitan West High Yield Bond MWHYX:

Metropolitan West High Yield Bond benefits from an experienced group of managers, including Steve Kane, Laird Landmann, and Jamie Farnham, who have been at the helm since its 2002 inception, in addition to a well-resourced team of credit analysts and traders. While generally a stable team, this fund's management saw a change in April 2016 when longtime comanager Gino Nucci transitioned off the fund.

The fund's process hinges on individual credit analysis, attractive valuations, and portfolio positioning based on the team's views on the credit cycle. Many high-yield bond funds stick with a specific niche of the market, whether the cautious, moderate, or aggressive portions of the quality spectrum. But this fund's managers will make big adjustments depending on their view of the current stage of the credit cycle. This worked especially well around 2008's credit crisis, as the team grew more conservative with its Tier 3 bonds (roughly equivalent to CCC rated bonds) by mid-2008 and then tripled that stake by the time the market turned in March 2009.

This approach can thrive around market turning points but has less of an impact during the in-between periods, as credit spreads gradually tighten. Given the team's belief that the economy is in the late stage of the credit cycle, it has kept a light stake in what it believes are richly valued Tier 3 credits (5% as of May 2016 compared with the Barclays U.S. High Yield 2% Issuer Cap Index's 16% weighting). That's held the fund back compared with more-aggressive peers in risk-fueled rallies, but it has also had missteps in issue selection as well as industry and cash positioning. For example, the fund held three coal companies that defaulted, which weighed heavily on returns in 2014 and in 2015. The team has also struggled with energy positioning: The fund's 20%-plus energy stake in late 2014 hurt as oil prices plummeted, while the team's decision to cut that stake to roughly 6% and hold a 23% cash stake as of March 2016 meant the fund missed out on the second quarter's rally. Therefore, we've downgraded the fund's Morningstar Analyst Rating to Neutral from Bronze.

Vanguard Core Bond VCORX
Emory Zink discusses this new Vanguard fund here:

Sequoia Dumps Valeant Shares
Sequoia Fund SEQUX sold the rest of its holding in Valeant Pharmaceuticals and explained why here:

Three Reasons to Go Low Cost
John Rekenthaler examines three reasons low-cost funds are a winning bet:

Morningstar Runs the Numbers
This is one of our newer columns, and it's worth checking out. David Harrell does a weekly summary of key numbers:

What Will the Economy Look Like on Election Day?
FiveThirtyEight has the answer--or at least an informed guess.

Our ETF Conference is in September
We have some good speakers lined up for our conference in Chicago. Take a look.

GMO's Grantham Surveys the Damage from Brexit
Jeremy Grantham has some thoughts on the meaning of Brexit:



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