Morningstar’s New Chart Tool Is Impressive
Whenever I need data on mutual funds, whether it’s a fund’s expense ratio, risk measures, or return, I always go to morningstar.com. It has been my trust tool for fund research for year, not only for mutual funds, but for ETFs as well. Then yesterday when I went to Morningstar to get some data for a post I am writing, I noticed something that I didn’t see before: the new Morningstar Chart.
When researching stocks or mutual funds, you can find many free charting tools that get your job done, from simply plotting the change of prices and comparing with benchmarks, like what Yahoo Finance is offering, to analyzing an equity’s pattern from the technical analysis point of view, which is available at StockCharts.com. However, most of these free tools, while maybe good for stock research, are generally not for mutual funds. When checking a mutual fund, I want to know how the fund compares with its respective benchmark, rather than against the S&P 500. I would also be interested in seeing where the fund stands among its peers in the same category. These are not available on just any chart though.
Not the case with the new Morningstar chart.
As you can see from the above screenshot, the Morningstar chart has pretty much everything you need to know about a fund. In addition to what you usually get from other charting tools, the Morningstar chart also displays monthly Rolling Returns of a fund during the time period you select (under the Growth menu, which also include Growth and Price). If you are interested in knowing a fund’s performance, then there are many options under the Benchmark menu, where you can find a lot of benchmarks grouped into categories, such as Morningstar Category, Morningstar Indices, US Indices, Canada, Europe and Asia. For the example I show above, I compared Dodge & Cox International Fund (DODFX) against Foreign Large Value, where the fund belongs, and MSCI EAFE Index, which is the default, to get a sense of how DODFX stacks up. You may say that taht manyother free charting tools also let you compare the a stock or fund against benchmarks or indices. While that’s true, in most of the time you do need to know the name or symbol of the benchmark/index you want to compare with and that’s not an easy job for sure. With the Morningstar chart, it can all be done with just a few clicks.
Under the Event menu, you can add events like dividend distribution and Morningstar Star Rating to the chart, if those are what you want to know.
Anyway, I just started playing with the tool and already found it’s very useful, at least for mutual fund research (I didn’t try with stocks yet). I am glad that Morningstar has made it available, even though it’s still in beta. Considering the unique position Morningstar is in for mutual fund research, this new tool will make fund screening a lot easier. Go to Morningstar and see if you like it.
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