Skokie Public Library's Guide to...
Morningstar Investment Research Center

Morningstar, Inc. is the premier source of unbiased information for thousands of mutual funds; the company is also a respected source of information on stocks.  Morningstar Investment Research Center provides complete reports for approximately 2,000 funds and 1,000 stocks.  Quicktake Reports, which include portfolio, risk, performance, and management information, are available for approximately 13,000 funds and 8,000 stocks.  Snapshot information is available for thousands of other funds and stocks.  Overall, information for over 100,000 investment offerings is available.

Morningstar, Inc. issues reports twice a month on a five-month schedule.  Each fund is rated once every five months.  All pricing is current information, and ratings and risk information are updated daily.

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Why Use Morningstar Investment Research Center?

Use Morningstar Investment Research Center to find unbiased information and independent research on thousands of mutual funds and stocks, to design a portfolio, or to analyze an existing portfolio.

  • I’m interested in finding some information on a mutual fund called Calamos
    Convertible A.
  • I really don’t know much about investing.  I need some help selecting a few really solid mutual funds for the long term.  Can I use Morningstar to do this?
  • I’ve been buying some stocks and funds over the years and now have a bunch of odds and ends.  Is there any way to see how they all work together as a portfolio?

Searching

There are three different ways of searching Morningstar Investment Research Center.  To research a particular stock or fund, you may search Reports by name or ticker symbol.  If you’re looking for investments that meet particular criteria, use the Screeners.  The Portfolio X-Ray allows you to analyze your portfolio of stocks and funds.


Search Reports

Search Reports when you have a specific stock or fund in mind.  Simply type in the ticker symbol or company name into the search box and press Go image.  You will receive analyst research, a current price quote, financial statements, SEC filings, a Morningstar Rating when available, and information on insider trading and other owner information.


Screeners

Mutual Fund and Stock Screeners work best when you want to find investments that meet certain criteria, like a stock that hasn’t cut its dividend in five years or a fund with an experienced manager and low expenses.

Fund Screener

There are two ways to use the Fund Screener.  Create your own custom screens using various criteria, including performance measures like load-adjusted returns, portfolio composition, or Morningstar rating data.  Alternatively, use the ready-made Screens image that Morningstar analysts have created.  These Screens might include stocks that analysts have defined as Portfolio Anchors or Hidden Gems.

Stock Screener

There are also two ways to use the Stock Screener.  Create your own custom screens using various criteria, including valuation measures like price/earnings ratio, earnings estimates, and financial statement data.  Alternatively, use the ready-made Screens image that Morningstar analysts have created.  These Screens might include stocks that analysts have defined as Terrific Ten-Year Records, Cash Cows, or Bargain Stocks.


Portfolio X-Ray

Portfolio X-Ray helps you look for strengths and weaknesses in a portfolio of stocks and mutual funds.  First, use the Instant X-Ray to look for basic information on your portfolio.  Enter the ticker symbols of your stocks and funds and their allocation in your portfolio, using percentages or a dollar amount.  Then use the drop-down box marked Views to get more specific information.  For example, use Diagnostics to see potential risk factors and how diversified your portfolio is, or use Fees & Expenses to see what expenses you incur in owning your mutual fund.


Special Features

Analysis

While Morningstar Investment Research Center is a valuable source of data regarding mutual funds and stocks, the real value of Morningstar Investment Research Center and of all Morningstar publications is the extensive research that analysts put into each report. The analyst comments do not give explicit advice, but their research is an invaluable addition to the wealth of data available in this database.


Help

Morningstar Investment Research Center has an excellent Help and Education section, accessible from the black bar at the top of the page.  The Seminars offer solid explanations of Morningstar Investment Research Center’s many features and the Courses cover the basics of investing.  There is also an extensive glossary of investment terms. In-context help is also available by clicking on the More information image button.


Handling Results

Morningstar Reports may be printed or downloaded to a disk.

  • To print a full report on one page, in the same format as the print edition of Morningstar Mutual Funds, use the Formatted Report option at the bottom of the column on the left side of the screen.
  • To print only what you see on the screen, select the Print This Page option at the bottom of the column on the left side of your screen.
  • If the investment instrument you are interested in is not associated with a full Morningstar Report, just print using your browser's "Print" function. 
  • To download a report, choose the Formatted Report option at the bottom of the column on the left side of your screen, then use the "Save" in the top left corner of the Acrobat viewer.
  • Morningstar Investment Research Center does not offer the option of saving stock or mutual fund screens or Portfolio X-Ray; print them out or download them for future reference.

Other Resources

Print Resources

Morningstar Mutual Funds has been the premier source of independent information and analysis for mutual funds since its inception in the 1980s.  This print edition of Morningstar covers mutual funds only and is available at the Reference Desk.  For stocks, the Value Line Investment Survey and the Value Line Investment Survey Expanded Edition are the best evaluation tools available.  Together, these publications cover about 3,800 of the most-traded stocks; these publications are also available at the Reference Desk.  In addition, Skokie Public Library has a healthy collection of investment newsletters and other publications that deal with finance and investment; please visit the Reference Department, email us, or call 847.673.3733 for more information.


Online Resources

In addition, librarians at Skokie Public Library have compiled the most useful Web sites for investing information in the Investments & Finance category of the Research section.