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Fund Spy: Morningstar Medalist Edition

April Ratings in Full Bloom

Eight upgrades, 10 downgrades, and 146 affirmed ratings of funds and target-date series.

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In April, Morningstar Manager Research analysts affirmed the Morningstar Analyst Ratings of 143 funds and three target-date series, upgraded the ratings of eight funds, downgraded the ratings of 10 funds, placed three funds’ ratings under review, and assigned new ratings to three funds. Below are some of April’s highlights, followed by the full list of ratings changes.

 PIMCO Total Return (PTTRX) was raised to Gold from Silver on renewed confidence in its leadership. The departure of the fund’s legendary manager Bill Gross in 2014 set off massive outflows and left doubts as to the firm’s ability to maintain talent and focus. But PIMCO has managed outflows well. The fund’s leaders--Scott Mather, Mihir Worah, and Mark Kiesel (Morningstar Fixed-Income Fund Manager of 2012)--have found their groove as a team, and PIMCO’s world-class research staff has been augmented, in some cases by senior-level alumni returning to the firm. While the fund had some hiccups under its current team in 2015, it has done well since, benefiting from well-timed interest-rate calls and a continued bet on nonagency mortgages. Since the current team took over through March 2018, the fund has landed in the best third of its peers in the intermediate-term bond Morningstar Category. This reasonably priced offering, backed by a strong asset manager, continues to deserve plenty of investor confidence.

Shannon Yan does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.