Mutual fund tracker Morningstar is adding two new categories to its rating system, which allows investors to compare data such as a fund's performance and volatility against peers. The new entrants are global real estate funds, which invest mainly in non-U.S. real estate securities such as real estate investment trusts (REITS), and currency funds, which buy U.S. and foreign currencies.
The rollout of the new categories is an indication of their growing appeal to mainstream investors. In 2006, Morningstar added a "long-short" category to track the increasing numbers of funds that hedge their portfolios by short-selling stocks (in addition to buying stocks the old-fashioned way). The number of currency funds is growing rapidly, especially among ETFs, said John Rekenthaler, vice president of research for Morningstar, in a press release.