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Morningstar.com adds tools

08 February 2011  |  3351 views  |  0 Source: Morningstar

Morningstar.com, the popular individual investor website from Morningstar (Nasdaq:MORN), recently added a wealth of new features and tools to help make investing more transparent and enable investors to better track and manage their portfolios, personal finances, and investment decisions.

"We want Morningstar.com to be not just an investment research and data site, but rather a comprehensive financial resource for investors at every phase of their lives," said Kunal Kapoor, president of individual software at Morningstar. "These recent enhancements are the result of feedback from investors and fit in perfectly with our longstanding efforts to make Morningstar.com a more intuitive site that helps to demystify investing, whether you're an experienced investor getting ready to retire or a new investor just getting started with your first 401(k) plan."

To help investors track and manage their portfolios and investments, Morningstar.com recently expanded its Portfolio Manager tool with a number of new advanced features. Portfolio Manager now features new navigation functionality to make it easier to locate securities and sort from among more than 200 data points (including new data points such as management fees, debt and total capitalization, pre-market and after hours trading prices, NAV and percentage of premium/discount, and realized gain or loss since purchase). Morningstar has doubled the number of customized views and an Import Wizard tool streamlines the process of importing new data into an existing portfolio. All Morningstar.com Premium members now receive a Portfolio Monitor report, a monthly portfolio performance statement delivered directly to the investor's e-mail inbox. It provides a summary of investment performance, including top contributors and detractors, an asset allocation breakdown, and a digest of the latest Morningstar analyst research available for the investor's holdings.

Investors can also find a host of resources to manage their household finances under the new "Real Life Finance" tab. The tab is organized into seven different sections, each featuring commentary and videos from Christine Benz, Morningstar.com director of personal finance and author of 30-Minute Money Solutions:

* Family Finance: Thiss page contains tools and worksheets for budgeting, calculating net worth, organizing personal finance files and statements, along with tips for using credit wisely and ways to save on everyday expenditures.
* Start Investing: In this section, new investors can find tools to create an investment policy statement, establish the investment portfolio that is right for them, and calculate their savings' future worth.
* Save for College: Morningstar's comprehensive 529 college-savings plan research and ratings are found here in the 529 Plan Center, which has a screener to help parents determine which state's plan is the best for their child. Detailed information on other college-savings vehicles can be found here, as well, along with Morningstar.com's popular college savings calculator.
* Invest for Retirement: Resources for managing a retirement portfolio are located in this section, including a retirement savings calculator, an IRA calculator, 401(k) plan tips, asset allocation tools, and model retirement portfolios for aggressive, moderate and conservative investors.
* Invest in Retirement: Designed to help retirees maximize their investment income and make their savings last, this section includes a retirement income tool to help find an optimal portfolio withdrawal rate. The section also includes tips for adjusting portfolios during retirement, maximizing Social Security, and making smart decisions when purchasing annuities and long-term care insurance.
* Optimize Your Portfolio: A set of resources to help investors get the most out of their portfolio's performance, including tools for creating watchlists; instant and portfolio X-Ray tools to guard against overexposure and duplication of investments; articles on rebalancing portfolios, asset allocation, and risk management; and the best ways to balance short-term and long-term investment goals.
* Minimize Taxes: This section brings tax-related topics to investors' attention, including changes in public tax policy and tax-efficient investment ideas.

In addition, Morningstar has added a number of new tools to help make investing more transparent. For stock investors, the "Quote" pages now contain an enhanced "Insiders" section featuring executive compensation information versus performance, insider activity charts, and board member connections. Major shareholder information is also available along with peer ownership comparisons, and investors can get credit rating information including debt-to-equity capital structure. Morningstar.com also now offers complete transcripts for public companies' earnings conference calls in the new, searchable Earnings Call Center.

Fund investors also have new transparency tools at their disposal. New risk ratings compare a fund to its Morningstar peer category. Under the "Portfolio" tab, a new Morningstar® Ownership ZoneTM graphic visually shows a weighted average of the fund's holdings against the Morningstar Style BoxTM. Colorful sector weighting charts show fund holdings by sector versus the category average and benchmark weight, and a global map shows a fund's holdings by world region, with a percentage breakdown between developed and emerging markets.

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