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, 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.

Apr 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
Active AND Passive

It's not one or the other. A better approach is to use active and passive. Watch this long-form video in which Christine Benz, John Rekenthaler, Ben Johnson, and I discuss the ins and outs of both.

PIMCO Total Return Rated Bronze
Meantime, we have affirmed our Bronze rating on PIMCO Total Return PTTRX. Here's Sarah Bush's take:

Nearly seven months out from Bill Gross' abrupt departure from PIMCO, there are signs of progress at the firm and its flagship fund PIMCO Total Return. The new three-manager investment team of PIMCO veterans Scott Mather, Mark Kiesel, and Mihir Worah is off to strong start, with Mather responsible for final decision-making. That said, we are maintaining the fund's Morningstar Analyst Rating of Bronze to reflect risks associated with ongoing outflows and because it will take some time to see how the three new portfolio managers, all strongly opinionated and talented investors, coalesce as a team.

One of the fears following Gross' departure was that the firm would see an exodus of top investment talent. However, despite a handful of departures (notably, Saumil Parikh and Paul McCulley), PIMCO's senior investment ranks have been otherwise stable. Meanwhile, several high-profile new and returning hires have bolstered the ranks of the firm's investment committee and the macroeconomic team backing its efforts. These additions, together with efforts made since early 2014 to broaden this group's makeup and to increase debate and discussion, are encouraging. The smooth functioning of the committee, which includes all three portfolio managers, is key to this fund's success.

Redemptions remain a worry, even though they slowed some in March and PIMCO's senior management team has indicated that they expect them to taper further in upcoming months. Flows have not yet taken a significant toll on returns--over the trailing six months through March 2015, the fund's 3.6% gain tops that of the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index and roughly 90% of its peers, thanks in part to astute currency positioning--but they could still pose a problem should performance weaken or should the bond markets hit a period of turbulence.

These risks notwithstanding, PIMCO's depth of investment talent continues to inspire confidence in this fund's ability to reassert itself as a topnotch choice for bond investors.

Investors Excited About stock is up about 15% today as investors are very enthused by its latest quarterly earnings release. You can read R.J. Hottovy's take here.

Updated Market Outlook
We've updated our market outlook. Take a look here.

Greece on Center Stage
The world's focus will be on Greece in the next few months. The country faces a small bond payment and then a larger one. The Syriza-led government is making investors nervous with its brinksmanship as it pushes hard for a better deal. What investors fear is that both sides have hardened to the point where a deal will fail and Greece will exit the euro. Despite the small size of Greece's economy, some say an exit would be very damaging. However, no one agrees on the likelihood of that happening or how damaging it would be.

Here are a few perspectives:

Mohamed El-Erian walks through the issues here.

Alessandro Leipold on how the deal can be saved and why it is so difficult.

PIMCO puts odds of Grexit at 30%.

BlackRock Fined for Conflict of Interest
There are little conflicts of interest and then there's what happened at BlackRock. The SEC has fined the firm $12 million for its failure to manage a big conflict of interest with former portfolio manager Dan Rice. The facts in the case have largely been known for years thanks to some good work by The Wall Street Journal. The strange thing here is that BlackRock knew about the issue and decided it wasn't a problem. Here's the SEC press release.


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