May 13, 2019

Morningstar Assigns New Analyst Ratings to Nine Strategies, Upgrades Eight Strategies, and Downgrades 11 in April 2019

CHICAGO, May 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Morningstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, has published a summary of Morningstar Analyst Rating™ activity for 180 U.S. strategies that occurred in April 2019. Strategies include all vehicles that Morningstar covers, including open-end mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), separately managed accounts (SMAs), target-date series, and collective investment trusts (CITs). The Morningstar Analyst Rating represents Morningstar's conviction in the strategy'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 April 2019, Morningstar's manager research group assigned new ratings to nine U.S. strategies and affirmed 150 strategies. Eight strategies were upgraded, 11 were downgraded, and two were placed under review. 

"In its inaugural rating, the Vanguard Target Retirement series of target-date collective investment trusts earned a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold," said Laura Pavlenko Lutton, Morningstar's North American practice leader, manager research. "Low costs have been a great advantage for Vanguard's target-date series versus peers. Collective investment trusts typically charge lower fees than mutual funds, making the series' low costs less of a difference-maker, but Vanguard's scale and at-cost business model inspires confidence that the series will be a leader over the long term."

The following Analyst Rating changes occurred in April 2019:


Vehicle Type

Previous Morningstar

Analyst Rating

Current Morningstar

Analyst Rating

New Ratings




American Funds Model Portfolio

SMA

None

Silver

Columbia Mid Cap Growth

SMA

None

Neutral

Credit Suisse Tax-Advantaged Fixed Income 5-Year Target Duration

SMA

None

Neutral

First Trust Managed Municipal ETF

ETF

None

Neutral

Janus Henderson Mortgage-Backed Securities ETF

ETF

None

Neutral

Janus Henderson Short Duration Inc ETF

ETF

None

Neutral

Oppenheimer Model Portfolio

SMA

None

Neutral

T. Rowe Price Global Growth Stock

Mutual Fund

None

Silver

Vanguard Retirement Target-Date Series 

CIT

None

Gold





Upgrades




AB Discovery Growth

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Bronze

AB Small Cap Growth

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Bronze

Fidelity US Bond Index

Mutual Fund

Bronze

Silver

FPA International Value

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Bronze

iShares JP Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF

ETF

Bronze

Silver

MFS Research International

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Bronze

PGIM Balanced

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Bronze

VanEck Vectors JP Morgan EM Local Currency Bond ETF

ETF

Neutral

Bronze





Downgrades




Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Negative

BlackRock Global Allocation

Mutual Fund

Silver

Bronze

BlackRock GNMA

Mutual Fund

Silver

Bronze

BlackRock US Government Bond

Mutual Fund

Silver

Neutral

BlackRock US Mortgage Portfolio

Mutual Fund

Silver

Bronze

ClearBridge All Cap Value

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Negative

ClearBridge Value

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Negative

ClearBridge Value Equity

SMA

Neutral

Negative

JHancock Multimanager Target-Date Series

Mutual Fund

Bronze

Neutral

TETON Westwood Mighty Mites

Mutual Fund

Under Review

Negative

Wells Fargo Municipal Bond

Mutual Fund

Under Review

Bronze





Under Review




PGIM Global Total Return

Mutual Fund

Silver

Under Review

PGIM Short-Term Corporate Bond

Mutual Fund

Silver

Under Review

A list of the Analyst Ratings for 145 U.S. funds, four SMAs, and one target-date mutual-fund series that Morningstar affirmed in April is available here.  

As of April 30, 2019, Morningstar analysts had assigned a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold to 230 unique U.S. funds, a Silver rating to 418 funds, a Bronze rating to 622 funds, a Neutral rating to 736 funds, and a Negative rating to 34 funds. Morningstar Medalists currently account for approximately six percent of unique mutual funds available for sale in the United States and 62 percent of assets under management. Morningstar's manager research analysts rate approximately $12.8 trillion of U.S. investor assets, or approximately 69 percent of total investor assets in the United States.

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. The Analyst Rating methodology for SMAs, CITs, and model portfolios is available 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 130 manager research analysts worldwide. The company provides data on approximately 249,780 open-end mutual funds, 13,010 closed-end funds, and 16,720 exchange-traded product listings as of March 31, 2019.

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 $210 billion in assets under advisement and management as of March 31, 2019. The company has operations in 27 countries. For more information, visit www.morningstar.com/company. Follow Morningstar on Twitter @MorningstarInc.

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 a fund's or separately managed account's underlying securities' creditworthiness. This press release is for informational purposes only; references to securities or a separately managed account investment strategy in this press release should not be considered an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities or to invest in accordance with that strategy.

©2019 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Mary Kate Marchesi, +1 312 348-3180 or marykate.marchesi@morningstar.com
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