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Bond Funds Ranked 4- and 5-Stars by Morningstar

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The List of Morningstar's 4 and 5 Star Bond Funds

Morningstar rankings aren’t perfect, but they provide an excellent starting point for further research into the best mutual funds. Morningstar ranks each fund within its category, giving five stars to the top 10% of funds, four stars to the next 22.5%, three stars to the middle 35%, two to the next 22.5%, and one star to the bottom 10%.

Keep in mind, this is based on past performance and is not an indicator of future results. That’s why research into the objective and holdings of a fund – and not just investing on the basis of stars – is essential. Learn more in my article, "Should You Buy 5-Star Funds?"

With that said, below is the list of four- and five-star bond funds in each category with minimum investments of $500,000 and below. Most funds have multiple “share classes” which is a way investors can choose between front-end loads and fee structures. Sometimes only one share class ranks highly, while sometimes two or three classes will rank. In the latter case, all share classes are shown on one line, with the ticker representing the first share class listed.

Tickers are a handy way to conduct further research on funds; simply entering the ticker into Google or Yahoo! Finance will bring up a wealth of information. The reference section in your local library will typically have the full Morningstar book available, which will allow you to view the reports on the funds you’re researching.

Not that some of these funds have front-end sales charges (“loads”) and must be purchased through a broker.

The listings below are as of December 31, 2013.

Bank Loan

  • Eaton Vance Floating-Rate Advantage A EAFAX (5)
  • Eaton Vance Floating Rate Fund EIBLX (4)
  • Eaton Vance Floating-Rate & High Income A EVFHX (4)
  • DWS Floating Rate Fund - Class S DFRPX (4)
  • Hartford Floating Rate Y HFLYX (4)
  • Invesco Floating Rate R AFRRX (5)

Learn more: What are senior loans?

Corporate Bond

  • Delaware Extended Duration Bond A, R DEEAX (5)
  • Delaware Corporate Bond A, R DGCAX (4)
  • Federated Bond F ISHIX (4)
  • Lord Abbett Income A LAGVX (4)
  • MFS Bond R1 - R4 MFBGX (4)
  • Vanguard Long-Term Investment-Grade Adm VWETX (4)

Learn more: The basics of investing in corporate bonds

Emerging Market Bond

  • MFS Emerging Market Debt Fund R3 MEDFX (4)
  • Fidelity Advisor Emerging Markets Income I FMKIX (4)
  • T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Bond PREMX (4)

Learn more: Introduction to emerging market bonds

High Yield Bond

  • Delaware High-Yield Opportunities In DHOIX (5)
  • Prudential High-Yield Z PHYZX (5)
  • Federated High Yield Trust FHYTX (5)
  • Eaton Vance Income Opportunities A, I EIHIX (4)
  • Delaware High-Yield Opportunities R DHIRX (4)
  • BlackRock High Yield Bond Portfolio - Class A BHYAX (4)
  • Fidelity Advisor High Income Advantage I FAHCX (4)
  • Franklin High Income Fund - Class R,  FHIRX (4)
  • Invesco High Yield HYNIX (4)
  • Janus High-Yield Fund JAHYX (4)
  • Lord Abbett High Yield R3 A P LHYRX (4)
  • MFS High Yield Opportunities R3 MHOTX (4)
  • Neuberger Berman High Inc Bond Inv NHINX (4)
  • Putnam High Yield Y PHYYX (4)
  • T. Rowe Price High-Yield PRHYX (4)
  • Third Avenue Focused Credit Investor TFCVX (4)

Learn more: The basics of investing in high-yield bonds

Inflation Protected Bond

  • Goldman Sachs Infl Protected Secs IR GSTPX (4)
  • Harbor Real Return Adm HRRRX (4)
  • Hartford Inflation Plus R5, Y HIPSX (4)
  • PIMCO Real Return R PRRRX (4)
  • Vanguard Inflation Protected Securities Fund VIPSX (4)

Learn more: How do TIPS work?

Intermediate-Term Government

  • Payden GNMA Fund - Class Investor PYGNX (5)
  • Putnam American Government Income Y PATYX (5)
  • Putnam US Government Income Y PUSYX (5)
  • Vanguard GNMA Adm VFIJX (5)
  • Vanguard Interm-Term Treasury Adm VFIUX (4)
  • BlackRock GNMA Svc BGPSX (4)
  • Fidelity Ginnie Mae Fund FGMNX (4)
  • JPMorgan Government Bond R2, A JGBZX (4)
  • American Century Ginnie Mae Inv BGNMX (4)
  • Franklin US Government Secs Adv FUSAX (4)
  • Fidelity Government Income FGOVX (4)
  • Managers Intermediate Duration Govt MGIDX (4)
  • Invesco US Mortgage Y VUSIX (4)
  • PIMCO GNMA A PAGNX (4)
  • Prudential Government Income R, Z JDRVX (4)
  • Putnam American Government Income R PAMRX (4)
  • Putnam US Government Income R PGVRX (4)
  • T. Rowe Price GNMA PRGMX (4)
  • T. Rowe Price Summit GNMA PRSUX (4)

Intermediate-Term Bond

  • Delaware Corporate Bond A, R DGCAX (5)
  • Federated Bond F ISHIX (5)
  • JPMorgan Total Return R5 JMTRX (5)
  • Loomis Sayles Core Plus Bond Fund - Class A, Y NEFRX (5)
  • Loomis Sayles Investment Grade Bond Y LSIIX (5)
  • Managers Bond Fund MGFIX (5)
  • MFS Bond R1, R2, R3, R4 MFBGX (5)
  • PIMCO Investment Grade Bond Fund - Class A PBDAX (5)
  • Pioneer Bond Y PICYX (5)
  • Prudential Total Return Bond Z PDBZX (5)
  • Putnam Income R,Y PIFRX (5)
  • AllianceBern Interm Bond K ABQKX (4)
  • Aston/TCH Fixed Income N CHTBX (4)
  • BlackRock Total Return R MRCBX (4)
  • Delaware Diversified Income A,R DPDFX (4)
  • Dodge & Cox Income DODIX (4)
  • Dreyfus Intermediate Term Inc I DITIX (4)
  • Fidelity Advisor Total Bond I FEPIX (4)
  • Fidelity Investment Grade Bond FBNDX (4)
  • Fidelity Total Bond FTBFX (4)
  • Franklin Total Return Adv FBDAX (4)
  • Goldman Sachs Core Fixed Income IR GDFTX (4)
  • Goldman Sachs Core Plus Fixed Income IR GSNTX (4)
  • Harbor Bond Adm HRBDX (4)
  • Janus Flexible Bond T JAFIX (4)
  • JHancock Bond A JHNBX (4)
  • JPMorgan Core Plus Bond R2 JCPZX (4)
  • JPMorgan Total Return A JMTAX (4)
  • Lord Abbett Total Return A, P, R3 LTRAX (4)
  • Managers Fixed Income A MFDAX (4)
  • Managers PIMCO Bond MBDFX (4)
  • MFS Research Bond R2, R3, R4 MRRRX (4)
  • PIMCO Total Return - Class R PTRRX (4)
  • Pioneer Bond Fund - Class A,R PIOBX (4)
  • Prudential Total Return Bond A PDBAX (4)
  • T. Rowe Price New Income PRCIX (4)
  • Target Total Return - Class A TATBX (4)
  • Virtus Bond I SAVYX (4)

Long-Term Bond

  • Eaton Vance Build America Bonds I EIBAX (4)

Learn more: What are the risks and benefits of long-term bond funds?

Long Government

  • American Century Zero Coupon 2020 Inv BTTTX (5)
  • American Century Zero Coupon 2020 Adv ACTEX (4)
  • American Century Zero Coupon 2025 Inv BTTRX (4)

MultiSector Bond

  • AllianceBern High Income Advisor, I, K AGDYX (5)
  • AllianceBernstein High Income Fund - Class A AGDAX (4)
  • Loomis Sayles Strategic Income Y NEZYX (5)
  • Fidelity Advisor Strategic Income I FSRIX (4)
  • Fidelity Strategic Income FSICX (4)
  • Franklin Strategic Income FKSAX (4)
  • Loomis Sayles Bond Fund LSBRX (4)
  • Loomis Sayles Strategic Income A NEFZX (4)
  • Lord Abbett Bond-Debenture Fund - Class P, R3 LBNPX (4)
  • Pioneer Strategic Income Fund - Class R STIRX (4)

Municipal (All)

  • DWS Massachusetts Tax-Free Fund - Class S SCMAX (5)
  • DWS Managed Municipal Bond Fund - Class S,A SCMBX (5)
  • DWS Intermediate Tax/AMT Free Fund - Class S SCMTX (4)
  • DWS California Tax-Free Income Fund - Class S SDCSX (4)
  • DWS Municipal Income Trust XKTFX (5)
  • DWS New York Tax-Free Income Fund - Class S SNWYX (4)

Non-traditional

  • Alliance Bernstein Unconstrained Bond AGSIX (4)
  • Dreyfus Opportunistic Fixed Income I DSTRX (4)
  • Hartford Corporate Opportunities HTIYX (4)
  • JPMorgan Strategic Income Opps R5 (JSORX) (4)

Short Government

  • American Century Zero Coupon 201(5) Adv ACTTX (5)
  • American Century Zero Coupon 201(5) Inv BTFTX (5)
  • Loomis Sayles Ltd Term Govt and Agency Y NELYX (5)
  • Victory For Income Fund - Class A, R IPFIX (5)
  • Vanguard Short-Term Federal Adm VSGDX (5)
  • Eaton Vance Low Duration I EILDX (4)
  • Eaton Vance Government Obligations I, R EIGOX (4)
  • Federated U.S. Government FIGIX (4)
  • Vanguard Short-Term Treasury Adm VFIRX (4)
  • Loomis Sayles Ltd Term Govt and Agency A NEFLX (4)
  • Oppenheimer Limited-Term Government Y OLTYX (4)
  • Payden US Government Fund PYUSX (4)
  • Thornburg Limited Term US Government Fund - Class R3 LTURX (4)
  • Vanguard Short-Term Treasury Adm VFIRX (4)

Short-term Bond

  • Lord Abbett Short Duration Income A, R3 LALDX (5)
  • Oppenheimer US Government Y OUSYX (5)
  • Prudential Short-Term Corporate Bd Z PIFZX (5)
  • Thornburg Limited Term Income Fund - Class R3 THIRX (5)
  • Virtus Multi-Sector Short Term Bond Fund - Class A NARAX (5)
  • BlackRock Low Duration Bd Svc CMGBX (4)
  • Calvert Short Duration Income Fund - Class A CSDAX (4)
  • Delaware Limited-Term Diversified Inc I DTINX (4)
  • Dryden Short Term Corporate Bond Fund - Class R JDTRX (4)
  • DWS Short Duration Fund - Class S DBPIX (4)
  • Fidelity Advisor Intermediate Term Bond A, T FDIAX (4)
  • Hartford Short Duration Y HSDYX (4)
  • Janus Short-Term Bond T JASBX (4)
  • JPMorgan Limited Duration Bd A ONUAX (4)
  • Oppenheimer Limited-Term Bond N, A OUSGX (4)
  • PIMCO Low Duration A, R PTLAX (4)
  • Pioneer Short Term Income Y PSHYX (4)
  • Prudential Short-Term Corporate Bond – R JDTRX (4)
  • Vanguard Short-Term Investment-Grade Adm, Investor VFSUX (4)
  • Virtus Shrt/Interm Bond A HIMZX (4)
  • William Blair Income N WBRRX (4)

Ultrashort Bond

  • PIMCO Short-Term Admin PSFAX (4)
  • DWS Ultra-Short Duration Fund - Class A, S SDUSX (4)
  • Managers Short Duration Government MGSDX (4)

Learn more: How do short-term bonds compare to money market funds?

World Bond

  • Templeton Global Bond Fund - Class A, R TPINX (4)
  • AllianceBernstein Global Bond Fund - Class A, R ANAGX (4)
  • American Funds Capital World Bond R5 RCWFX (4)
  • Managers Global Bond MGGBX (4)
  • PIMCO Foreign Bond (USD-Hedged) R, A PFRRX (4)
  • PIMCO Global Bond (USD-Hedged) A PAIIX (4)
  • Prudential Global Total Return Z PZTRX (4)
  • Putnam Global Income R PGBRX (4)

Learn more: International Bonds 101

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