Web Sites for Screening Mutual Funds

    by Cara Scatizzi

    Web Sites For Screening Mutual Funds Splash image

    Overwhelmed by too many mutual fund choices?

    Mutual fund screens can help you pick a fund that best fits your investment goals, needs and expectations. Below is a list of Web sites that offer some level of free mutual fund screening. Most sites require that you register in order to use their services. The list includes the screen’s data provider, the size of the database, and the number of screenable data fields. Many provide additional data on the individual funds, as well as links.

    The list was compiled by Computerized Investing, (AAII’s bimonthly publication that covers computers and finance), which rated both disk-based and Internet-based mutual fund screening systems in their May/June 2005 issue.

    CNBC on MSN Money’s Deluxe Screener was the Top Free Pick, with the best overall score in terms of flexibility, amount of data, documentation, and ease of use.

    BusinessWeek Online—Mutual Fund Search

    BusinessWeek Online’s Mutual Fund Search has 50 searchable data fields and includes predefined screens. The database covers over 5,400 funds and is updated daily and monthly with data provided by Standard & Poor’s.

    CNBC on MSN Money—Easy Fund and Deluxe Screeners

    The CNBC site offers two mutual fund screeners. The Easy Fund Screener has 12 searchable data fields. The Deluxe version has the ability to rank results by any of its 80 data fields and the flexibility to search with user-defined values. The Deluxe version is an ActiveX program that can only be run on Windows-based systems using Internet Explorer or Netscape. Both screening programs have a database of over 12,500 funds. Data is updated monthly by Morningstar.

    CNN Money—Fund Screener

    The CNN Money Web site’s free Fund Screener has 17 searchable data fields and easy-to-use simple screens. However, it has a limited database of just over 7,500 funds. Data, updated daily and monthly, is provided by Morningstar.

    Forbes.com—Fund Screener

    To locate the Fund Screener, click on Premium Tools in the Jump drop-down box. It has a database of over 11,000 funds and can screen 22 data fields. Screens are easy to use, but data is limited on individual funds. Data is provided by Lipper and updated on a weekly or monthly basis.

    IndexFunds.com—Mutual Fund Screener

    For investors interested in index investing, the Mutual Fund Screener covers over 270 funds and can screen 28 data fields. Data is updated monthly by Morningstar.

    Kiplinger.com—Fund Finder

    Kiplinger’s Fund Finder has a database of over 15,000 mutual funds, and can screen 16 data fields—all fields are predefined (no custom inputs). Data is provided by Lipper and is updated daily and monthly.

    Morningstar.com—Mutual Fund Screener

    The Morningstar site has one basic mutual fund screener that is free (plus premium options). It has 18 screenable data fields and uses Morningstar’s database of over 16,000 mutual funds.

    Reuters.com—Fund Screener

    Reuters’ Fund Screener has 17 screenable data fields, most with predefined values to choose from. The database covers over 16,000 funds. Reuters gets its mutual fund data from Lipper, and the site is updated monthly.

    SmartMoney.com—Fund Finder

    SmartMoney offers a free Fund Finder with a database of 6,000 funds and four data fields. Data is provided by Lipper.

    Yahoo!Finance—Fund Screener

    Yahoo!Finance’s Fund Screener has 25 searchable data fields and a database that covers over 16,000 mutual funds. Data is provided by Morningstar and is updated daily (some fields) and monthly.

    Zacks.com—Custom Fund Screener

    Zack’s Custom Mutual Fund Screener has 50 searchable data fields and covers a database of over 12,000 funds. Zacks, a data provider for other companies, uses its own data.

    —by Cara Scatizzi, associate financial analyst at AAII

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