The biggest fund happening of 2009 was the launch of the Putnam Absolute Return series. In the late 90s, Putnam had briefly been the nations largest mutual fund company, but the next decade was unkind, to put the matter gently. To state the problem more directly, Putnam had no outstanding funds whatsoever and precious few good ones. It had nothing to sell.

Below were the Morningstar Ratings for Putnams funds (oldest share class), in January 2009. (As a refresher, the star ratings are assigned quantitatively based on a funds past performance and are distributed symmetrically so that there are equal amounts of low and high ratings.)

John Rekenthaler does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstarseditorial policies.

For site questions or to provide feedback: send us an