As the exchange traded fund (ETF) market and mutual fund industry grow, investment strategies are multiplying too. To help investors determine the stars from the duds, there is a new set of online tools designed to help, and they’re free. Eleanor Laise for The Wall Street Journal reminds us of fund raters such as Morningstar and Lipper Inc., that have been rating funds for quite some time now based on returns and risk. However, the new tools give investors another way to slice and dice the fund world. For example, they can help investors decide if a certain fund belongs within their portfolio. Remember when you research funds online that fund ratings give you a base; don’t rely on them solely. New rating services available online include:

  1. – Fundgrades offers grades for each fund relative to any asset class users select.
  2. – This site isn’t officially launched yet, but it already offers a useful tool to help understand which index an ETF tracks.
  3. – IndexUniverse recently launched a "fundamental ETF screener" that highlights ETFs that weight holdings based on fundamental factors.
  4. – Rydex Investments has a "trading expense calculator" tool that helps users decide whether it’s cheaper to trade mutual funds or ETFs based on factors such as how often they trade and commissions paid to buy and sell.

Read the disclosure, as Tom Lydon is a board member of Rydex Investments.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.