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TheStreet Ratings

TheStreet.com Ratings is the source for accurate ratings that you can rely upon to make sound, informed financial decisions. We are proud to offer a complete line of products designed to direct consumers and business professionals alike toward safe investment, bank and insurance options while avoiding unnecessary risks that could lead to financial losses.

We don't accept compensation from the companies we rate for issuing the rating. Nor do we give the companies an opportunity to preview the ratings or suppress their publication if they're unfavorable. We are totally independent and unbiased because our loyalty is to you -- the customer.

Every quarter, we evaluate the financial strength of more than 13,000 institutions, including life, health, and annuity insurers, property and casualty insurers, HMOs, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, banks, and savings and loans. In addition, we track the risk-adjusted performance of over 20,000 mutual funds and more than 6,000 stocks which are updated on a daily basis.

TheStreet.com Ratings stock model compiles and examines all available financial data on a daily basis to gauge stocks' probabilities of moving up or down. The model scores stocks on various factors - including growth, financial solvency, stock price performance and volatility - which, when taken together, have shown strong correlation with future stock performance. The aim is to deliver investors with stock ideas that we feel have the best chance at delivering top risk-adjusted returns.

The TheStreet.com Investment Ratings represent a completely independent, unbiased opinion of a mutual fund's historical risk-adjusted performance. Each fund's rating is based on two primary components: (1), its Performance Rating and (2), its Risk Rating.

TheStreet.com Safety Ratings on Banks, Thrifts and Insurance companies represent a completely independent, unbiased opinion of an institution's financial safety -- now, and in the future. The ratings are derived, for the most part, from quarterly financial statements filed with federal regulators. Although we seek to maintain an open line of communication with the companies being rated, we do not grant them the right to influence the ratings or stop their publication.

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What our Ratings Mean:

A (Excellent) - The stock has an excellent track record for maximizing performance while minimizing risk, thus delivering the best possible combination of total return on investment and reduced volatility. It has made the most of the recent economic environment to maximize risk-adjusted returns compared to other stocks. While past performance is just an indication -- not a guarantee -- we believe this fund is among the most likely to deliver superior performance relative to risk in the future as well.

B (Good) - The stock has a good track record for balancing performance with risk. Compared to other stocks, it has achieved above-average returns given the level of risk in its underlying investments. While the risk-adjusted performance of any stock is subject to change, we believe that this fund has proven to be a good investment in the recent past.

C (Fair) - In the trade-off between performance and risk, the stock has a track record which is about average. It is neither significantly better nor significantly worse than most other stocks. With some funds in this category, the total return may be better than average, but this can be misleading since the higher return was achieved with higher than average risk. With other funds, the risk may be lower than average, but the returns are also lower. In short, based on recent history, there is no particular advantage to investing in this fund.

D (Weak) - The stock has underperformed the universe of other funds given the level of risk in its underlying investments, resulting in a weak risk-adjusted performance. Thus, its investment strategy and/or management has not been attuned to capitalize on the recent economic environment. While the risk-adjusted performance of any stock is subject to change, we believe that this fund has proven to be a bad investment over the recent past.

E (Very Weak) - The stock has significantly underperformed most other funds given the level of risk in its underlying investments, resulting in a very weak risk-adjusted performance. Thus, its investment strategy and/or management has done just the opposite of what was needed to maximize returns in the recent economic environment. While the risk-adjusted performance of any stock is subject to change, we believe this fund has proven to be a very bad investment in the recent past.

+ (Plus Sign) - An indication that the fund is in the top third of its letter grade.

- (Minus Sign) - An indication that the fund is in the bottom third of its letter grade.

U (Unrated) - The stock is unrated because it is too new to make a reliable assessment of its risk-adjusted performance. Typically, a fund must be established for at least three years before it is eligible to receive a TheStreet.com Investment Rating.

A & B Ratings - Are considered to be a Buy.

C Ratings - Are considered to be a Hold.

D & E Ratings - Are considered to be a Sell.

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