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Kathy Panagopouloskathy.panagopoulos@morningstar.com
Morningstar Adds New Features to Annual Stocks 500 and Funds 500 Guides

CHICAGO, Feb 03, 2004 – The 2004 editions of Morningstar's two annual reference guides, Morningstar Stocks 500TM and Morningstar Funds 500TM are now available and include several new features to help investors create better portfolios.  The guides include full-page, independent analysis on 500 of the most popular stocks and funds, and now offer more measurement tools, management profiles, and proprietary features.   

Morningstar Stocks 500
The Morningstar Stocks 500, first published in 2002, provides one-page reports on 500 of the most popular stocks, with company and management profiles, major competitors, valuation ratios, and five years of financial history.  The annual stock reference guide has expanded to include the following new features:

  • Corporate Governance Grades score companies based on a variety of different governance practices, including executive compensation, stock options, and director independence. The grades range from ‘A’, denoting companies with the most shareholder-friendly attributes, to ‘F’, for the firms with the least.
  • Expanded Management section offers more information on the strengths and weaknesses of each company’s management team, as well as insight on how key executives are influencing the company’s direction.    
  • Consider Buying/Consider Selling feature recommends specific prices to guide investors in making decisions about when to buy or sell a stock, based on Morningstar analysts’ comprehensive, fundamental research.

Regular features offer the following proprietary tools:

  • Morningstar Thesis provides comprehensive, independent analysis of a stock, including its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Morningstar Fair Value estimate and the Morningstar RatingTM for stocks indicate whether a stock is overvalued, undervalued, or fairly priced.
  • Economic Moat rating explains the competitive advantage of a company.
  • Business Risk rating summarizes the company’s volatility, based on an in-depth analysis of financial health and other fundamental factors.

"As the market rebounds and investors start to evaluate stocks to add or drop from their portfolios, they need to be able to compare stocks using the most comprehensive research and analysis,” said Amy C. Arnott, editor of Morningstar Stocks 500.  “The annual Morningstar Stocks 500 guide provides the necessary tools for investors to review companies and make the most informed decisions about their portfolios."

Morningstar Funds 500

Published since 1993, the Morningstar Funds 500 provides comprehensive one-page reports on 500 of the most popular mutual funds.  The annual guide includes articles that highlight trends in the mutual fund industry and explain how to choose a shareholder-friendly fund firm.  It also provides Analyst Picks, a list of funds the Morningstar analyst team recommends, and other tables and charts that help investors compare funds.  The 2004 edition includes the following new features:

  • Analyst Pans section explicitly outlines which funds investors should avoid or consider selling.
  • Tax-Adjusted Returns Table illustrates how certain funds’ tax inefficiency can hamper investors’ efforts to reach their financial goals.
  • Management Biography and Strategy Overview provide more background on portfolio managers so investors can better understand their qualifications and investing philosophies.

In addition, each report in the Morningstar Funds 500 includes:

  • Morningstar’s Take offers independent analysis on a fund’s management, past performance and future prospects.
  • The Morningstar RatingTM for funds helps investors evaluate how well a fund has balanced risk and return compared with its peers.
  • Historical Style Boxes review a fund’s investing style to see if it has been consistent year over year.
  • Tax Analysis explains whether a fund is best suited as a tax-deferred or taxable investment. 
  • Portfolio Holdings section list the top 25 stocks or bonds held by each fund.
  • Manager Profile highlights the qualifications of the portfolio manager or team.
  • Expenses, fees, addresses, and phone numbers have all the information investors need to buy into a fund.

“During this time of questionable practices in the fund industry, it’s more important than ever for investors to conduct a thorough review of their portfolios and the fund companies who invest their money,” said Christine Benz, editor of Morningstar Funds 500.  “Funds remain one of the best vehicles for people to build long-term wealth, and the Morningstar Funds 500 provides a mix of data, proprietary tools, and independent analysis to arm investors with essential information to compare funds with each other.”

The Morningstar Stocks 500 (ISBN: 0-471-46881-9) and Morningstar Funds 500 (ISBN: 0-471-46853-3) guides are available by calling Morningstar at 866-608-9570.  They can also be found at Amazon.com, and wherever books are sold.  Each guide retails for $39.95.

About Morningstar, Inc.
Chicago-based Morningstar, Inc. is a global investment research firm, offering an extensive line of print, software, and Internet-based products and services for individuals, financial advisors and institutions.  The company is a trusted source for investment information, data, and analysis of stocks, mutual funds, 529 plans, separate accounts, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, and variable annuity/life subaccounts.

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