For years, mutual fund investorshave looked to Morningstar's star ratingsfor guidance in choosing a fund. Arelatively recent challenge to Morningstar's(www.morningstar.com) positionis Lipper Leaders (www.lipperleaders.com), which uses big orange checkmarks instead of stars to indicate top-performingfunds. Funds are rankedbased on 5 criteriaâ€”total return, consistentreturn, preservation of capital,tax efficiency, and expenses. Funds areusually not leaders in all categories; theidea is to pick the criteria that are mostimportant to you and select a fund thatgets a top rating for that category. Youcan also screen funds using an almostlimitless choice of fund types, fromlarge cap core funds, to specializedfunds like utilities, to state-orientedmunicipal-bond funds. Best of all, theinformation is free.