April 9, 2018

Morningstar Assigns New Analyst Ratings to Nine U.S. Funds; Upgrades Seven Funds; Downgrades Seven Funds in March 2018

CHICAGO, April 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, has published a summary of Morningstar Analyst Rating™ activity for 182 U.S. mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and two target-date series that occurred in March 2018. 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's Manager Research Group assigned new ratings to nine funds. In addition, analysts upgraded ratings for seven funds, downgraded ratings for seven funds, affirmed ratings for 149 funds and two target-date series, and placed ten funds under review.

As of March 31, 2018, Morningstar analysts had assigned a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold to 156 unique U.S. funds, a Silver rating to 325 funds, a Bronze rating to 595 funds, a Neutral rating to 695 funds, and a Negative rating to 19 funds. Morningstar Medalists currently account for approximately 6 percent of unique mutual funds available for sale in the United States and 60 percent of assets under management. Morningstar's manager research analysts rate approximately $11.4 trillion of U.S. investor assets, or approximately 68 percent of total investor assets in the United States.

The following Morningstar Analyst Rating changes occurred in March 2018:


Previous Morningstar
Analyst Rating

Current Morningstar
Analyst Rating

New Ratings



Fidelity Equity Dividend Income

None

Neutral

Fidelity Select Consumer Discretionary

None

Neutral

Goldman Sachs Satellite Strategies

None

Neutral

McDonnell Intermediate Municipal Bond

None

Neutral

Neuberger Berman Core Bond

None

Neutral

RiverPark Short Term High Yield

None

Neutral

T. Rowe Price International Concentrated Equity

None

Bronze

T. Rowe Price Small-Cap Stock

None

Bronze

T. Rowe Price Concentrated Equity

None

Bronze




Upgrades



AIG Flexible Credit

Negative

Neutral

Columbia Large Cap Enhanced Core

Neutral

Bronze

Fidelity Advisor International Growth

Bronze

Silver

Fidelity China Region

Neutral

Bronze

Fidelity Equity-Income

Neutral

Bronze

MFS Global Equity

Silver

Gold

T. Rowe Price Small-Cap Stock

Neutral

Bronze




Downgrades



BlackRock Inflation Protected Bond

Bronze

Neutral

Broadview Opportunity

Silver

Bronze

Columbia Acorn International

Bronze

Neutral

DFA Emerging Markets

Silver

Bronze

Franklin Mutual Quest

Silver

Bronze

iShares Currency Hedged MSCI Japan ETF

Bronze

Neutral

iShares MSCI Japan ETF

Bronze

Neutral




Under Review



Columbia Floating Rate

Bronze

Under Review

Vanguard CA Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt

Silver

Under Review

Vanguard CA Long-Term Tax-Exempt

Silver

Under Review

Vanguard High-Yield Tax-Exempt

Silver

Under Review

Vanguard Intermediate -Term Tax-Exempt

Silver

Under Review

Vanguard Long-Term Tax-Exempt

Silver

Under Review

Vanguard Limited-Term Tax-Exempt

Silver

Under Review

Vanguard NY Long-Term Tax-Exempt

Silver

Under Review

Vanguard Short-Term Tax-Exempt

Silver

Under Review

Wells Fargo Asset Allocation

Neutral

Under Review

A list of the Analyst Ratings for 149 U.S. funds and two target-date series that Morningstar affirmed in March is available here.

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

Morningstar launched its Analyst Rating for funds and Global Fund Reports in December 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 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. The Analyst Rating methodology for mutual funds is available here and for ETFs here.

To view a complete list and supporting analysis for Analyst Ratings for U.S. funds, please visit www.morningstar.com. 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 DirectSM, the company's web-based global investment analysis platform for institutional investors, and in Morningstar OfficeSM, a global practice and portfolio management solution for advisors.

Morningstar has approximately 120 manager research analysts worldwide who cover approximately 4,450 funds. The company provides data on approximately 228,400 open-end mutual funds, 10,700 closed-end funds, and 14,700 exchange-traded product listings as of Dec. 31, 2017.

About Morningstar, Inc.
Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company offers an extensive line of products and services for individual investors, financial advisors, asset managers, retirement plan providers and sponsors, and institutional investors in the private capital markets. Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with more than $195 billion in assets under advisement and management as of Dec. 31, 2017. The company has operations in 27 countries.

Morningstar's Manager Research Group consists of various wholly owned subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc. including, but not limited to, Morningstar Research Services LLC. Analyst Ratings are subjective in nature and should not be used as the sole basis for investment decisions. Analyst Ratings are based on Morningstar's Manager Research Group's current expectations about future events and therefore involve unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause such expectations not to occur or to differ significantly from what was expected. Analyst Ratings are not guarantees nor should they be viewed as an assessment of a fund's or the fund's underlying securities' creditworthiness. This press release is for informational purposes only; references to securities in this press release should not be considered an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities.

©2018 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

MORN-R

Media Contact:
Mary Kenefake, +1 312 348-3089 or mary.kenefake@morningstar.com

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