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 mutual fund research for Morningstar, Inc. and editor of Morningstar FundInvestor, a monthly print newsletter for individual investors. He also writes the Fund Spy column for Morningstar.com, 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.

 
 
Aug 27, 2015
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About Russel Russ' Photo
Russel Kinnel,
Director of Fund Research and Editor, Morningstar FundInvestor
Russel Kinnel is director of mutual fund research for Morningstar, Inc. and editor of Morningstar FundInvestor, a monthly print newsletter for individual investors.
Featured Posts
The Sell-Off Gains Momentum

Stocks are down sharply this morning as worries over China are hitting stocks worldwide. Although the U.S. market fell about 6% at the open, it was down a little less than 3% at mid-morning.

Last week was pretty unpleasant, unless you are still in the accumulation phase for your retirement. Through last Friday, all but 165 funds in the Morningstar 500 were in the red for the year to date. No doubt, that number will be higher by the end of Monday. If you are still buying equities, that's good news. If you are a net seller, it's bad news, of course.

Sell-offs are always unnerving, but generally the best response is no response. During the 2000-02 bear market, I asked Jack Bogle what investors should do, and he said, "Don't just do something, sit there!"

Worries about China slowing down hurt commodities makers the most as oil slid below $40 a barrel. But the selling really went across the board last week through most sectors and most countries. Growth funds are still mostly in the black year to date but very few value funds are.

Health-care sector funds have had the best year, while commodity and energy funds are at the bottom. Even among diversified equity funds, we now have some prominent ones with double-digit losses. Value funds like Longleaf Partners LLPFX, Delafield Fund DEFIX, and GoodHaven GOODX are all down well more than 10% for the year to date. Even funds that generally protect well against the downside like AMG Yacktman Focused YAFFX and FPA Capital FPPTX have lost more than 10%.

Emerging markets are another sore spot as they are very commodity-driven outside of China. Oppenheimer Developing Markets ODMAX is down about 15% for the year.

The sell-off was good for a couple of safe havens, though. Long-term Treasuries rallied, as you can see from the 1.9% weekly gain at Vanguard Long-Term Treasury VUSTX. In addition, the battered gold sector recouped some losses as the market weakness drove some into gold.

The S&P 500 is now down about 4% for the year to date, though it is still up handsomely during the past three- and five-year periods. Emerging markets, however, are back to flat for the trailing five years. Both U.S. and foreign markets may start to appeal to bargain hunters.

One big event to watch will be the Federal Reserve's September meeting. Investors seem rather evenly split on whether the Fed will hike interest rates. Inflation remains very subdued, but the economy is pretty strong, and some argue the Fed needs to head off some asset bubbles right away. In addition, China's slowdown and the dollar's strength are further arguments for delaying a rate hike. There is consensus, though, that the Fed will only be raising rates gradually during the next year regardless of whether they start in September or later.

 

 

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