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The Short Answer

A Guide to the New Mutual Fund Quote Page

We've added some new features in order to make the page easier to use.

At Morningstar, we're always looking for ways to improve the way we present information about investments. There's a huge amount of data available about any given stock or mutual fund, and we make much of it available to investors so they can make more informed investment decisions. On the other hand, all that data can be overwhelming, so it's often helpful to present it selectively in order to make it more useful. We're always trying to strike a balance between being comprehensive and comprehensible.

With that in mind, we're now in the process of updating the fund reports that appear on Morningstar.com. So far we've just updated the Quote page (the first page you see when you search for a fund) and the Chart page, but we'll be rolling out new versions of the other pages in coming months. My colleague Katie Rushkewicz recently surveyed the new Chart features, showing how they can provide deeper insights into how a fund's returns have varied over time. Here's a quick overview of the new Quote page, which now consolidates a variety of helpful information about a fund and serves as a gateway to other pages that provide more details.

Starting at the Top
One way the new page differs from the old one is that key links and data points are all gathered at the top of the page, rather than spread around in various places. (The navigation bar that used to go down the left side of the page is now gone.) Right below the fund's name, ticker, and Morningstar rating are links you can click on to take various actions: see an overview of the fund's family, add the fund to your Morningstar.com portfolio, get e-mail alerts about it, print the report (either the current page or the whole report), view a one-page PDF report, or send a question or comment to Morningstar. Below that are links to the individual pages of the report--from the chart page, to analyst research (including a written analysis of the fund, if it's one we cover), down to the filings page, which has links to the fund's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All of these except the chart page are the same as before, though, as noted above, we'll be revamping them one by one.

Below these links are a couple of lines of key data about the fund. On the left, in bigger type than the rest, is the daily quote: the fund's net asset value as of the previous day's market close and its gain or loss for the day. Then we have the fund's yield, the size of its asset base, its load (if any), its expense ratio, its annual turnover, its status (open, closed, or limited to certain classes of investors), and the minimum investment. The load, expenses, status, and minimum investment data points apply only to the specific share class you're looking at, because they often vary for different share classes.

On the line below that is the fund's category and its investment style, in terms of the Morningstar Style Box. At first glance it may seem redundant to show both of these, as they tend to be the same for funds in the nine style box categories;  Vanguard 500 Index (VFINX), for example, is in the large-blend category and the large-blend section of the style box, while  American Funds Growth Fund of America (AGTHX) is in the large-growth category and the large-growth section of the style box. But as we've pointed out before, a fund's category and style box don't always correspond;  Goldman Sachs Large Cap Value (GSLAX), for example, is currently in the large-value category but the large-blend area of the style box. And for categories that contain a grab-bag of funds with different investment styles, such as world stock, conservative- and moderate allocation, and the specialty stock categories, the style box information can help distinguish among very different funds. Funds in the health-care category, for example, fall into five different style-box squares, ranging from large-value ( Fidelity Select Pharmaceuticals (FPHAX)) to mid-cap growth ( Manning & Napier Life Sciences (EXLSX)).

 

Digging Deeper
Below this top section is most of what's new about the Quote page: capsule summaries of various areas of the fund's report, with links to click on if you want to see more. First there's a Growth of $10,000 graph that compares the fund's performance over time with that of its category and an index, such as the S&P 500. The default graph is 10 years, but you can click in the upper right to make it cover five years, three years, one year, the year to date, or three months; you can also make it cover any period by dragging the cursor along the timeline below the graph, which covers the fund's entire history. Clicking More above that takes you to the full Chart page with all the bells and whistles. Further down the page is a performance table showing returns in numerical form, including the fund's percentile rank in its category over each of the periods. Here, too, you can click on More in the upper right to go to the full Performance page, which includes annual and quarterly returns. For funds that our analysts cover, premium subscribers see a Morningstar's Take section between the chart and performance sections; this includes a link to the analyst report, a notation if the fund is an Analyst Pick or Pan, the fund's role in a portfolio, and its Stewardship Grade.

To the right is one of the more distinctive features of the new page: Morningstar risk measures, presented in graphic form. Morningstar risk essentially measures how volatile a fund's returns have been over time relative to its category peers, and Morningstar return essentially measures how a fund's returns compare with those of its peers; they're the main elements that go into the Morningstar rating, better known as the star rating. (You can read more about Morningstar risk here, and can get all the details in this pdf document.) The chart on the Quote page displays each fund's three-year Morningstar risk and Morningstar return (relative to its category peers) in the form of a bar graph, which can range from High (the highest 10%) to Low (the lowest 10%). Bars representing high risk or low returns are colored red, while those representing low relative risk or high relative returns are shaded green, and those with average relative risk or return ratings are shaded gray. As usual, you can click on More and go to the full Ratings & Risk page.

Most of the rest of the page displays information about the fund's portfolio. There's a "style map" that shows the fund's style box in more detail, including (for stock funds) its centroid and ownership zone, and there's a pie chart showing the fund's asset allocation. There are tables of the fund's top five holdings, including each stock's current price and 52-week range (for stock funds) and each bond's maturity date, amount, and value (for bond funds). There's also a table of the five biggest sectors in the portfolio, including a bar graph showing whether the fund is overweight or underweight in each sector relative to its category. The table also shows the highest lowest weighting the fund has had in each sector over the past three years; this can give you an idea whether the fund tends to move in and out of hot sectors, as opposed to maintaining a steady portfolio. In each of these cases, you can click on More to go to the full portfolio page.

At the bottom of the Quote page is a table showing the fund's dividend and capital gains distributions (both short-term and long-term) over the past several years (for stock funds) or the past several months (for bond funds). This is new information that we've never highlighted on Morningstar.com before. It's especially useful for funds held in a taxable account, because it allows you to make an educated guess as to whether a fund is likely to make a taxable distribution, and when it's likely to do so. Over in the right column of the page, below the asset-allocation pie chart, is a list of all the fund's managers, with the date when they started and the total amount of assets they manage. This last data point is also something we've never highlighted before; it can help identify managers who have a lot on their plate, which has the potential to reduce their effectiveness. Finally, at the bottom right of the page are links to the fund's most important SEC filings (prospectus, annual report, semi-annual report, and statement of additional information), with a link to the Filings page with more complete links.

As noted above, the updating of these fund reports is an ongoing process, and we welcome feedback. After you've explored the new Quote page, feel free to post a comment below, or in this thread in our Morningstar.com forum. If you'd prefer to use e-mail, you can send your comments to joe@morningstar.com (for free users) or premium@morningstar.com (for Premium Members).