Skip to Content
The Short Answer

Why Is My Fund's Style Box Different from Its Category?

These popular fund measures don't always move in tandem.

Mentioned: , , , ,

One issue that's a common source of confusion is the difference between the Morningstar Style Box and Morningstar categories. If you look at Columbia Value and Restructuring (UMBIX), for example, you can see that its quote page shows that it currently occupies the large-blend section of the style box, yet we have it in the large-value category. Why the discrepancy? Why don't we move the fund to the large-blend category, if that's where the style box says it belongs?

Those are good questions, and they go to the heart of the different goals of the style box and the fund categories. Essentially, the style box is meant to be a snapshot of a fund's portfolio at a specific moment in time, while a fund's category is intended to be a stable peer group with which it can be compared over the long term. The two will usually correspond, at least when we're dealing with the nine style box categories such as large value and large blend. But they can sometimes get out of sync temporarily, and that's especially true in an extremely volatile market like we've seen over the past year.

Style Boxes and Categories: The Nitty-Gritty
To understand how such discrepancies happen and what they mean, it helps to understand the mechanics of the style box. For stocks and stock funds, which are our main focus here, the vertical axis of the style box represents size, from large caps at the top to small caps at the bottom, while the horizontal axis represents a continuum from value (on the left) to growth (on the right). Each stock gets a size score based on its market capitalization and a style score based on a combination of five valuation measures and five growth measures. (For more on how these scores are calculated, see the style box fact sheet.) These two scores can be used to plot where each stock lands in the style box.  Google (GOOG), for example, lands in the large-growth square, while  Pfizer (PFE) lands in the large-value square.

David Kathman does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.

We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.

We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.

How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:

  • Verify your identity, personalize the content you receive, or create and administer your account.
  • Provide specific products and services to you, such as portfolio management or data aggregation.
  • Develop and improve features of our offerings.
  • Gear advertisements and other marketing efforts towards your interests.

To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.

Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.

To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.

Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.