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Russel Kinnel

Russel Kinnel is director of manager research for Morningstar.

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The low-cost Vanguard Large Cap Value Index makes Gold, and TIAA-CREF Large-Cap Value earns a Bronze for outperformance. Meanwhile, a manager change knocks Calamos Market Neutral Income down a notch.

Investors concerned about putting money to work in a fully valued equity market might find comfort in these conservatively managed portfolios, says Morningstar's Russ Kinnel.

Fixed-income investors should consider playing defense because of potential credit problems or a spike in rates, but there's a risk of being too conservative, as well, says Morningstar's Russ Kinnel.

In Part One of a three-part series, Morningstar's Russ Kinnel details how last year's market rally led to a decline in expense ratios, allowing for cheaper funds.