Bond Funds Ranked 4- and 5-Star by Morningstar

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Morningstar rankings aren’t perfect, but they provide an excellent starting point for investors wishing to get a sense of the top-performing mutual funds. The global investment research and management firm 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 stars to the next 22.5%, and one star to the bottom 10%.

These ratings are based on past performance and not an indicator of future results, which is why research into the objective and holdings of a fund—and not just its star rating—is essential. Anyone can peruse Morningstar's snapshot of a fund, which lists total assets and asset allocation, performance, expense fees, net asset value, and more, but to read a full analyst report and the explanation behind the ranking, you have to be a Morningstar subscriber. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial or seek info elsewhere. The reference section in your local library will typically have the full Morningstar book of reports on the funds you’re researching.

The list below includes a particular type of fund share, and most funds have multiple share classes, which indicate different load and fee structures. Sometimes only one share class of a fund 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 enter the ticker into Google or Yahoo! Finance and access a wealth of information. Below is a list of Morningstar 4- and 5-star rated bond funds, grouped by category.

Key Takeaways

  • Morningstar rates all kinds of funds, but the ones listed here are different types of bond funds.
  • These bond funds include everything from bank loan funds to inflation-protected government bonds.
  • Opting for short-term bonds will reduce your exposure to interest rate risk, but the rates will likely be lower than long-term bonds.

Bank Loan Funds

These funds typically invest in loans made by financial institutions to companies involved in leveraged buyout deals. They then sell these loans to institutional investors and mutual funds. While they have limited interest rate related risks, they can carry substantial risk of default.

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

Corporate Bond Funds

Like governments and municipalities, corporations issue bonds to fund their operations. Investors typically evaluate corporate bonds by looking at their yield advantage, or “yield spread," relative to U.S. Treasuries. Stronger companies offer lower yields; weaker companies have to offer higher ones to incentive people to invest.

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

Emerging Market Bond Funds

  • Fidelity Advisor Emerging Markets Income I FMKIX (5)
  • JP Morgan Emerging Markets Debt R5 JEMRX (4)
  • T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Bond PREMX (4)

High Yield Bond Funds

  • Blackrock High Yield Bond Portfolio A, Svc (5)
  • Delaware High-Yield Opportunities In DHOIX (5)
  • Eaton Vance Income Opportunities I EIHIX (5)
  • Prudential High-Yield Z PHYZX (5)
  • Federated High Yield Trust FHYTX (5)
  • Third Avenue Focused Credit Investor TFCVX (5)
  • Delaware High-Yield Opportunities R DHIRX (4)
  • BlackRock High Yield Bond Portfolio - Class A BHYAX (4)
  • DWS High Income Trust XKHIX (4)
  • Eaton Vance Income Fund of Boston I (4)
  • Fidelity Advisor High Income Advantage I FAHCX (4)
  • Franklin High Income Fund - Class R, FHIRX (4)
  • Hartford High Yield IB, R4, R5 (HBHYX)
  • 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)

Inflation-Protected Bond Funds

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

Intermediate-Term Government Funds

  • Fidelity Ginnie Mae Fund FGMNX (5)
  • Payden GNMA Fund - Class Investor PYGNX (5)
  • Prudential Government Income Z PGVZX (5)
  • Putnam American Government Income Y PATYX (5)
  • Putnam US Government Income Y PUSYX (5)
  • Vanguard GNMA Adm VFIJX (5)
  • American Century Ginnie Mae BGNMX (4)
  • BlackRock GNMA Svc BGPSX (4)
  • DWS GMNA Fund SGINX (4)
  • DWS Strategic Government S KUSMX (4)
  • JPMorgan Government Bond Select HLGAX (4)
  • Franklin US Government Secs Adv FUSAX (4)
  • Managers Intermediate Duration Govt MGIDX (4)
  • Invesco Van Kampen US Mortgage Y VUSIX (4)
  • Putnam American Government Income R PAMRX (4)
  • Putnam US Government Income R PGVRX (4)
  • T. Rowe Price GNMA PRGMX (4)
  • T. Rowe Price US Treasury Intermediate PRTIX (4)
  • Vanguard Interm-Term Treasury Adm VFIUX (4)
  • Wells Fargo Advantage Government Securities I SGVIX (4)

Intermediate-Term Bond Funds

  • 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)
  • Pioneer Bond Y PICYX (5)
  • Prudential Total Return Bond Z PDBZX (5)
  • Putnam Income R,Y PIFRX (5)
  • AllianceBern Interm Bond K ABQKX (4)
  • BlackRock Total Return R MRCBX (4)
  • Delaware Core Plus R DUGRX (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)
  • Putnam Incom A, M PINCX (4)
  • T. Rowe Price New Income PRCIX (4)
  • Target Total Return - Class A TATBX (4)
  • Virtus Bond I SAVYX (4)
  • Wells Fargo Advantage Total Return Bond MNTRX (4)
  • William Blair Bond I WBFIX (4)

Long-Term Bond Funds

  • Eaton Vance Build America Bonds I EIBAX (4)

Long Government Funds

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

Multisector Bond Funds

  • AllianceBern High Income Advisor, I, K AGDYX (5)
  • AllianceBernstein High Income Fund - Class A AGDAX (5)
  • 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)
  • PIMCO Diversified Income A PDVAX (4)
  • Pioneer Strategic Income Fund - Class R STIRX (4)

Municipal Bond Funds

  • 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)
  • DWS Strategic Municipal Income Trust XMSMX (4)

Non-Traditional Funds

  • Putnam Diversified Income Y PDVYX (5)
  • 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)
  • Putnam Diversified Income A, M, R PDINX (4)

Short Government Funds

  • American Century Zero Coupon 201(5) Adv ACTTX (5)
  • American Century Zero Coupon 201(5) Inv BTFTX (5)
  • Eaton Vance Government Obligations I EIGOX (5)
  • Eaton Vance Low Duration I EILDX (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)
  • 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)
  • Wells Fargo Advantage Short Duration Government Bond I WSGIX (4)

Short-Term Bond Funds

  • Fidelity Advisor Intermediate Bond I EFIPX (5)
  • Lord Abbett Short Duration Income 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)
  • 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)
  • Wells Fargo Advantage Short-Term Bond I SSHIX (4)

Ultrashort Bond Funds

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

World Bond Funds

  • 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)
  • DWS Global High Income Fund XLBFX (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)

The Balance does not provide tax, investment, or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal.