How can I tell if a fund is a good performer?

You can't know how well it will perform in the future. If there were a foolproof way to know how well a given fund will do in the future, we could all retire at 30. But no one can know for sure.

But you can check out a fund's past performance relative to that of its peers. That is, if you're considering a small-cap fund, compare its performance to the average for all small-cap funds. Be sure to compare performance over the long term - at least three years and preferably five years. You can get a fund report with this information by punching in a mutual fund ticker into the quote box above. But even though a good track record might offer some insight into whether the fund is well-managed, you still can't be certain whether that past performance will continue.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.