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Mary KenefakeMary.Kenefake@morningstar.com
Morningstar Upgrades Analyst Rating for Two U.S. Funds and One Target-Date Series; Downgrades Nine Funds; Assigns New Ratings to 16 Funds in February

CHICAGO, March 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, has published a summary of Morningstar Analyst Rating™ activity for 93 U.S. mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and 11 target-date series that occurred in February 2017. The Morningstar Analyst Rating for funds represents Morningstar's conviction in the fund's ability to outperform on a risk-adjusted basis over the long term. The five-tiered, qualitative Morningstar Analyst Rating scale has three positive levels, indicating Morningstar Medalists—Gold, Silver, and Bronze—in addition to Neutral and Negative ratings.

In February, Morningstar's Manager Research Group upgraded two U.S. funds and one target-date series and downgraded ratings for nine funds. In addition, analysts affirmed ratings for 65 funds and 10 target-date series, assigned 16 new fund ratings, and placed one fund under review.

As of Feb. 28, 2017, Morningstar analysts had assigned a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold to 132 unique U.S. funds, a Silver rating to 297 funds, a Bronze rating to 488 funds, a Neutral rating to 401 funds, and a Negative rating to 13 funds. Morningstar Medalists currently account for approximately 9 percent of unique mutual funds available for sale in the United States and 60 percent of assets under management. Morningstar's manager research analysts rate approximately $12 trillion of U.S. investor assets, or approximately 68 percent of total investor assets in the United States.

The following Morningstar Analyst Rating changes occurred in February 2017:

Fund / Previous Morningstar Analyst Rating / Current Morningstar Analyst Rating

Fidelity Freedom Target-Date Series / Bronze / Silver
Goldman Sachs Absolute Return Tracker / Neutral / Bronze
TIAA-CREF Bond Plus / Neutral / Bronze

American Century Heritage / Bronze / Neutral
American Funds Developing World Growth and Income / Bronze / Neutral
Fidelity Small Cap Discovery / Gold / Bronze
Fidelity Small Cap Value / Bronze / Neutral
Ivy Asset Strategy / Neutral / Negative
MFS Research International / Bronze / Neutral
Scout Unconstrained Bond / Bronze / Neutral
Vanguard REIT Index / Gold / Silver
Waddell and Reed Asset Strategy / Neutral / Negative

New Ratings
iShares 1-3 Year Treasury Bond / None / Bronze
iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond / None / Bronze
iShares Core SandP US Growth / None / Silver
iShares Core SandP US Value / None / Silver
iShares Short Treasury Bond / None / Bronze
iShares US Technology / None / Neutral
Pioneer Multi-Asset Ultrashort Income / None / Neutral
Pioneer Short Term Income / None / Neutral
PowerShares DWA Momentum ETF / None / Neutral
PowerShares National AMT-Free Municipal Bond ETF / None / Bronze
PowerShares SandP SmallCap Low Volatility ETF / None / Bronze
Principal High Yield / None / Bronze
SPDR SandP International Dividend ETF / None / Negative
Thornburg Limited Term US Government / None / Neutral
VanEck Vectors AMT-Free Intermediate Municipal ETF / None / Neutral
Vanguard Information Technology ETF / None / Bronze

Under Review
BlackRock Inflation Protected Bond / Bronze / Under Review

A list of the Analyst Ratings for 65 U.S. funds and 10 target-date series that Morningstar affirmed in February is available here.

A summary of last month’s Morningstar Analyst Rating changes for U.S. funds is available on Morningstar.com in the latest Fund Spy: Medalist Edition here.

Morningstar launched its Analyst Rating for funds and Global Fund Reports in November 2011. Morningstar Medalists—Gold-, Silver-, and Bronze-rated funds—are funds that analysts determine are likely to outperform their peer groups and/or relevant benchmarks on a risk-adjusted basis over a market cycle of at least five years. The differences between the positive ratings indicate the level of the analyst’s conviction in a fund’s future performance. Analysts arrive at a rating through an evaluation of five key pillars: People, Process, Parent, Performance, and Price. The Analyst Rating methodology for mutual funds is available here and for ETFs here.

To view a complete list and supporting analysis for Analyst Ratings for U.S. funds, please visit www.morningstar.com. Premium Members have access to a Morningstar Medalists screener, where users can sort funds by Morningstar Rating, Morningstar Analyst Rating, Fund Family, Manager Tenure, Expense Ratio, and other metrics. Morningstar’s Global Fund Reports, in-depth research reports that include a wealth of data and analysis, are available in Morningstar DirectSM, the company’s web-based global investment analysis platform for institutional investors, and in Morningstar OfficeSM, a global practice and portfolio management solution for advisors.

Morningstar has approximately 120 manager research analysts worldwide who cover approximately 4,170 funds. The company provides data on approximately 213,700 open-end mutual funds, 11,000 closed-end funds, and 14,000 exchange-traded product listings as of Dec. 31, 2016.

About Morningstar, Inc.
Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company offers an extensive line of products and services for individual investors, financial advisors, asset managers, retirement plan providers and sponsors, and institutional investors in the private capital markets. Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with more than $200 billion in assets under advisement and management as of Dec. 31, 2016. The company has operations in 27 countries.

Morningstar’s Manager Research Group consists of various wholly owned subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc. including, but not limited to, Morningstar Research Services LLC. Analyst Ratings are subjective in nature and should not be used as the sole basis for investment decisions. Analyst Ratings are based on Morningstar’s Manager Research Group’s current expectations about future events and therefore involve unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause such expectations not to occur or to differ significantly from what was expected. Analyst Ratings are not guarantees nor should they be viewed as an assessment of a fund’s or the fund’s underlying securities’ creditworthiness. This press release is for informational purposes only; references to securities in this press release should not be considered an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities.

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©2017 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.


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