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Times Picks

October 19, 2000|JOSH FRIEDMAN

The best of the Web from Times finance and markets writers:

Site: http://www.morningstar.com

If you're looking for a site with reliable, independent information on mutual funds, this is a good place to start. After all, Morningstar's print edition, known for its now-overhyped star ratings, has long been considered a sort of bible--well, Daily Racing Form, anyway--of mutual fund investors.

But Morningstar has beefed up its stock coverage in recent years, and this site offers plenty for investors in individual equities as well.

Best features include the Fund Spy column by Russel Kinnel. He recently sized up growth funds unscathed by the Nasdaq slide, looking at whether they are benefiting from a bold but hard-to-duplicate call--or whether they may have the staying power to make a worthwhile portfolio addition.

Quicktake Reports on stocks and funds are detailed and smart. Investors hunting for ideas will find the stock and fund screening programs a snap.

Although Morningstar is known for its analysis, the site's market reporting is solid too. One drawback: commercialism. But there's enough free stuff here (and elsewhere online) that you can ignore the offers to become a "premium" member for $99 a year or buy products such as industry reports and 401(k) advice.

josh.friedman@latimes.com

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