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Our Picks

Morningstar Analysts' Favorite Funds

Our Premium Fund Screener homes in on Fund Analyst Picks.

The  Premium Fund Screener is a great tool for sifting through reams of data and statistics in search of a fund that meets your needs. You can use it, for example, to whittle down the vast universe of domestic-stock funds to just those whose 10-year trailing returns land in their respective categories' upper echelons. Or, if you're looking for a conservative fixed-income offering, you can sift among bond funds to find those that invest in only the highest-rated issues. Because Premium Fund Screener offers quick access to hundreds of stats, the screens you can construct are limited mainly by your ability to come up with useful combinations of data.

That said, the tool has its limits. It can't return results based on a fund manager's strategy, for instance, or tell you how a conservative value manager somehow succeeded during the late-1990s growth craze. Similarly, it can't tell you about a newly appointed management team's multiyear track record at another fund or, more significantly, offer an opinion on whether that record is especially relevant at their new charge.

That, in short, is the job of mutual fund analysts at Morningstar. A good analyst tells the story of a fund's numbers, connecting the dots by putting the data in a context you can use to make an educated decision about whether a fund is right for you. Numbers are helpful, of course, but as anyone who has ever seen an all-star hitter hit a mid-season slump knows, they rarely tell the whole story.