Morningstar has rolled out mutual fund stewardship grades to underscore the fact that there's more for investors to consider when choosing a mutual fund than just past performance. This year's results are in, and one-fourth of domestic stock funds received excellent marks, while Morningstar rated all of them "good or great funds overall."

The Dodge & Cox Stock Fund was given an outstanding stewardship grade. The fund boasts some of the best returns in the large-value arena with "a sound and patient strategy, and a savvy management team," Morningstar said.

A few blue-chip-oriented funds were given great stewardship marks as well, and many of these funds have also delivered strong returns, Morningstar said. The Sound Shore Fund, for example, outperformed many of its peers in the large-value category. It concentrates on beaten-down stocks with strong fundamentals.

Some smaller-cap funds were awarded good grades, too. The Fairholme Fund got a first-rate stewardship grade due to its distinctive strategy and distinguished management team.

(c) 2006 Money Management Executive and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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