About the U.S. News Mutual Fund Score

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Methodology | FAQ

By compiling expert fund opinion, the U.S. News Mutual Fund Score offers a broad look at what some of the brightest minds conducting investing analysis have to say about some of your most important investments. Using ratings from Morningstar, Lipper, Zacks, TheStreet.com, and Standard & Poor's, we've built a one-of-a-kind, one-stop site for following your favorite funds. 

You can do more than just track whether a fund is up or down. Our data, rankings, and the U.S. News Mutual Fund Score provide a look at everything from a fund's track record to predictions of where it might head in the future. Each of the sources we rely upon rates funds in a different way. For example, Morningstar's rating looks at risk-adjusted historical returns, while S&P's rating takes into account the outlook for the individual underlying holdings of a fund. It's worth spending a little time to understand each of these rating systems, so be sure to check out the methodologies of our ratings sources

We've also profiled more than 100 of the largest mutual funds in terms of assets and have included quotations from fund managers, analysts, and respected newsletter writers alongside the vital fund-level data investors need to make intelligent choices. 

The U.S. News Mutual Fund Score isn't a buy or sell recommendation. Your unique investing needs can't be summed up by any rating or score. Instead, the U.S. News score offers an easy-to-use snapshot of expert opinion and information to make analyzing and understanding your mutual funds a simpler, more informed experience. 

Methodology

The U.S. News Mutual Fund Score is produced using an equal weighting of the overall ratings provided by our data sources. (See information on their methodologies.

Individual fund rating systems are normalized to a 100-point scale based on point totals assigned to individual scoring systems. For Morningstar's and S&P's five-star ranking and Zacks five-point scale, each star or point awarded would receive 20 points. In TheStreet.com's A-to-E scale, a highly rated "A" fund would receive 100 points, while a low-rated "E" would receive 20 points. The five Lipper Leader categories are each worth a total of 20 points, giving 4 points to each 1-to-5 point scale assigned to each section of the Lipper rankings. The U.S. News score is calculated by dividing total points awarded according to the above system by the number data sources (5). The combined U.S. News Mutual Fund Score ranks funds numerically based on this score. Funds with identical scores to one decimal place are awarded the same numerical ranking.

Notes:

Funds must be ranked by all five data sources to receive a U.S. News Mutual Fund Score. 

Lipper rankings are comprised of five unique measures (Total Return, Consistent Return, Preservation, Expense, and Tax Efficiency), each with a 1-to-5 score. While the U.S. News Mutual Fund Score combines all five equally weighted category scores to achieve its weighting in our score, Lipper intends its measures to be used as individual assessments of a fund's ability to meet specific goals, rather than as a cumulative measure of fund quality. 

The U.S. News Mutual Fund Score groups funds by their Morningstar fund category. However, some systems use different categorizations when ranking funds. 

More Methodologies and Ratings Information

  • Morningstar (PDF)
  • S&P Mutual Fund Ranking (PDF)
  • Lipper Leaders
  • TheStreet.com Ratings Research Methodology for Funds
  • Zacks Mutual Fund Ranking 
  • FAQ 

    What is the U.S. News Mutual Fund Score?

    See our description and methodology. 

    How are funds categorized?

    Funds given a U.S. News Mutual Fund Score are organized on this site by Morningstar category. Please note that individual rankings may be based on differing methods of categorization. 

    When are the U.S. News Mutual Fund Scores updated?

    The U.S. News Mutual Fund Scores are updated regularly to reflect changes in underlying ratings. Other ratings displayed on the site are updated throughout the month.