Morningstar Upgrades Analyst Rating for Four U.S. Funds, Downgrades Eight Funds in March

Chicago, IL - 11 April 2014

Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, today announced Morningstar Analyst Rating(TM) changes for several U.S. funds. The Morningstar Analyst Rating for funds represents Morningstar's conviction in the fund's ability to outperform on a risk-adjusted basis over the long term. The five-tiered, qualitative Morningstar Analyst Rating scale has three positive levels, indicating Morningstar Medalists--Gold, Silver, and Bronze--in addition to Neutral and Negative ratings.

In March, Morningstar analysts upgraded four U.S. fund ratings, downgraded eight fund ratings, assigned one new rating, and affirmed one rating. As of March 31, 2014, 164 U.S. funds had a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold, 290 funds had a Silver rating, 320 funds were rated Bronze, 367 funds had a Neutral rating, and 44 funds were rated Negative.

Morningstar upgraded the following U.S. mutual funds in March:

  • Columbia Value and Restructuring Fund, upgraded to Bronze from Neutral
  • DFA International Small Cap Value Portfolio, upgraded to Silver from Bronze
  • Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund, upgraded to Bronze from Neutral
  • T. Rowe Price Value Fund, upgraded to Bronze from Neutral Morningstar downgraded the following U.S. mutual funds in March:
    • Fidelity Advisor Growth Opportunities Fund, downgraded to Neutral from Silver
    • Invesco Growth and Income Fund, downgraded to Bronze from Silver
    • Morgan Stanley Institutional Fund, Inc. International Equity Portfolio, downgraded to Bronze from Silver
    • Morgan Stanley Institutional Global Franchise Fund, downgraded to Bronze from Silver
    • Russell LifePoints Balanced Strategy Fund, downgraded to Negative from Neutral
    • Russell LifePoints Growth Strategy Fund, downgraded to Negative from Neutral
    • Russell LifePoints Moderate Strategy Fund, downgraded to Negative from Neutral
  • Third Avenue Value Fund, downgraded to Bronze from Silver Morningstar assigned and/or reaffirmed Analyst Ratings for the following U.S. mutual funds in March:
    • Royce Special Equity Multi-Cap Fund--assigned new Morningstar Analyst Rating of Bronze
    • Templeton Growth Fund, Inc.--reaffirmed Morningstar Analyst Rating of Neutral

Approximately 10 percent of mutual funds available for sale in the United States are currently Morningstar Medalists. Morningstar's manager research team covers about $8 trillion of U.S. investor assets, which is equivalent to approximately 70 percent of total investor assets in the United States, as of March 31, 2014.

A summary of last month's Morningstar Analyst Rating upgrades and downgrades for U.S. mutual funds is available on Morningstar.com in the latest Fund Spy: Medalist Edition.

Morningstar launched its Analyst Rating for funds and Global Fund Reports in November 2011. Morningstar Medalists--Gold-, Silver-, and Bronze-rated funds--are funds that analysts determine are likely to outperform their peer groups and/or relevant benchmarks on a risk-adjusted basis over a market cycle of at least five years. The differences between the positive Medalist ratings indicate the level of the analyst's conviction in a fund's future performance. Analysts arrive at a rating through an evaluation of five key pillars: People, Process, Parent, Performance, and Price. 

Premium Members have access to a Morningstar Medalists screener, where users can sort funds by Morningstar Rating, Morningstar Analyst Rating, Fund Family, Manager Tenure, Expense Ratio, and other metrics. Morningstar's Global Fund Reports, in-depth research reports that include a wealth of data and analysis, are available in Morningstar Direct(SM), the company's web-based global investment analysis platform for institutional investors, and in Morningstar Office(SM), a global practice and portfolio management solution for advisors.

Morningstar has about 105 fund analysts worldwide who cover approximately 4,500 funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The company provides data on approximately 155,000 open-end mutual funds, 6,300 closed-end funds, and 10,700 exchange-traded funds as of Dec. 31, 2013.

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