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As a stock investor, it's all too easy to get distracted by the details: quarterly earnings, new product launches, who's in and out in the executive suite, and daily gyrations in the stock price. Sometimes you've got to step back and ask some more-basic questions: Is it a good business? Is the management team in charge on your side? These questions aren't easy to answer, but getting them right can make a huge difference in the quality of your portfolio over time.

For this week's Five-Star Investor, we focused on two of the more qualitative aspects of stock investing, both of which are central to Morningstar's investment approach. First, we screened for companies that earn a Stewardship Grade of A, the highest grade. These grades are designed to measure how well company boards and management teams fare in demonstrating a commitment to shareholders and acting as stewards of investor capital. The grades are based on three key areas: transparency of reporting, shareholder friendliness, and overall stewardship, including management incentives and equity ownership. Morningstar's analysts have assigned Stewardship Grades to approximately 500 companies, 58 of which receive grades of A.

Amy C. Arnott has a position in the following securities mentioned above: MSFT. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.