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How to Research Equity Investments

For investors researching stocks and equity funds, we've got the tools to help you find the right investment

Holly Cook 21 February, 2013 | 6:00AM

For those who want to invest in equities but don't have the time to put in the hard work, or who prefer to spread the risk by buying an instant basket of stock, equity funds can be the answer. 

In short, the argument for investing in funds rather than individual stocks is that you spread your risk by buying a diversified portfolio and you get to benefit from the skills of a professional fund manager (in the case of actively-managed funds). The argument against boils down to cost: funds are not free, you will have to pay an annual fee (or total expense ratio) to the fund provider. Passive funds such as ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and tracker funds tend to be much cheaper, while actively-managed funds (OEICS, unit trusts and investment trusts) charge more as you're paying to have your money managed by a pro.

Once you've made the decision to go down the route of being a fund investor, Morningstar has several tools to help you conduct your research and find fund investments that suit your portfolio. Should you opt to also invest in individual stocks, we've got tools to help you in this quest too. 

Top Investment Lists

Morningstar's Quickranks allow you to quickly filter your chosen universe and list the results in order of short- and long-term performance, dividend yield, fees and Morningstar rating. You can export your list to Excel for further investigation or click on any individual investment name to access the Morningstar report on that fund or stock. 

Click any Quickrank to access that tool:

Equity Quickrank
ETF Quickrank
Fund Quickrank
Investment Trust Quickrank
Life & Pension Fund Quickrank

Investments Tailored to Your Needs

For investors who like to be a little more 'hands on', Morningstar's Screeners let you select the criteria that are important to you and screen the investment universe to produce a list of funds that precisely matches your needs. 

Each of these tools let's you determine the minimum and maximum expense ratio that you're willing to pay, the sector or category that you want to narrow your search to, past performance levels that you're willing to consider and volatility that you're willing to endure. Not to mention Morningstar's own fund ratings and research.

Once you've run your screen, you can click on any individual fund name to continue your research via the Morningstar Fund Report and Analyst Research.

Click any Screener to access that tool: 

ETF Screener
Fund Screener
Investment Trust Screener
Life & Pension Fund Screener

Our new Stock Screener is coming soon.

Manage Your Money

Once you've selected the investments you're going to purchase, you'll need to monitor and manage your portfolio on an ongoing basis. That's where Morningstar's Portfolio Manager comes in. As with all the tools listed above, this tool is free to use; you'll need to register with Morningstar.co.uk or login to your existing account. Once you've added your investments, including recurring transaction, to your online portfolio you can then request a daily portfolio performance alert, read news that's relevant to your investments and track your personal gains and losses since investing in each holding. 

Click below to start your portfolio:

Portfolio Manager

Dig Deeper

For Premium members of the Morningstar website, we have several more key features to help you in your quest for solid investments. 

For an extra deep dig into your portfolio, Morningstar's X-Ray drills down into your underlying holdings and provides you with an instant report on how you're really investing: your inherent investment style, potential areas of weakness or stock overlap, and geographic and sector breakdown. 

Click below to find out more:

Portfolio X-Ray

Let Us Do the Hard Work

Another Premium benefit is access to Morningstar's 200-strong team of investment analysts. Equity and fund analysts provide their independent opinion on thousands of stocks, open- and closed-end funds and ETFs. 

Read our analysts' latest opinions:

Morningstar Research

All these tools and more can be found on the Morningstar Tools page.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

About Author Holly Cook

Holly Cook  is Managing Editor of Morningstar.co.uk