With the bear market squashing returns for mutual funds, those who give awards, such as Lipper, Standard & Poor's/Business Week and Morningstar, have focused their selection process on a number of things, with past performance not as big a barometer as it once was. In some instances, history took a back seat during the selection process, and more qualitative, rather than quantitative measures, led the way.

In a busy few days, both Lipper and a joint awards program between S&P and BusinessWeek were announced late last week. Morningstar anointed its leaders in January.

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