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TheStreet.com Ratings Adds 22 ETFs to Coverage

TheStreet.com Ratings initiated coverage of 22 exchange-traded funds that accrued a sufficient track record of risk and performance data by the end of February.

Six of the funds that opened for trading in February 2007 received our top rating of A+ or Excellent.

Two of them are designed to profit from a fall in the value of the U.S. dollar. They could also provide investment vehicles to hedge some of your exposure to the U.S. Dollar.

Owning shares of the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bearish Fund (UDN) is the equivalent of being short the Euro, Japanese yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona, and the Swiss Franc.

The other currency play is focused solely on the Japanese yen. As the U.S. dollar gets weaker, it takes more and more dollars to buy each yen. The CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (FXY) measures the price in dollars of the yen, representing a bearish position against the dollar.

The other four A+ rated ETFs track 200% leveraged short positions against Russell indexes.

The UltraShort Russell2000 Value ProShares (SJH) tracks the inverse of twice the performance of the 1284 members of the Russell 2000 Value Index. Index members losing more than 90% in the last year include Security Capital Assurance (SCA), Fremont General (FMT), and Luminent Mortgage Capital (LUM).

Representing the double opposite return on the growth portion of the Russell 2000 index is the UltraShort Russell2000 Growth ProShares (SKK). The worst performers of the 1249 members of the Russell2000 Growth Index over the last year include Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (KERX), Force Protection (FRPT), and Bon-Ton Stores (BONT).

(For anyone who noticed that 1284 plus1249 is larger than 2000: Russell considers some stocks to be part value and part growth, so they get proportionately included in both value and growth indexes.)

The large, value stocks were pretty well crushed over the last year. This propelled the UltraShort Russell1000 Value ProShares (SJF)to an initial A+ rating. One-year losses of 96.15% from Bear Stearns (BSC), 95.52% from Thornburg Mortgage (TMA), 93.54% from RH Donnelley (RHD), and 93.16% from AMBAC Financial Group (ABK) tell the story, filling investors in this fund with potentially lucrative schadenfreude.

The same held true for the midsized growth stocks in the UltraShort Russell MidCap Growth ProShares (SDK) with short holdings such as MoneyGram International (MGI), off 94.17%; E*Trade Financial (ETFC), off 83.68%; First Marblehead (FMD), off 82.93%; and Circuit City Stores Inc (CC), off 76.62%.

From my perspective, it is too soon to call a bottom in the stock market, making the above funds quite interesting.

Research Methodology

TheStreet.com Ratings condenses the available fund performance and risk data into a single composite opinion of each fund's risk-adjusted performance. This allows the unbiased identification of those funds that have historically done well and those that have underperformed the market. While there is no guarantee of future performance, these Investment Ratings provide a solid framework for making informed, timely investment decisions.

Funds rated A or B are considered "Buy" rated based on a track record of higher than average risk-adjusted performance. Funds at the C level are rated as "Hold," while underperformers at the D and E levels our model ranks as "Sell." The funds listed below have either reached their one-year anniversary.

New Coverage of ETFs as of Feb. 29, 2008

Fund (Ticker) Initial Rating Total Return 1 Year Investment Style
PowerShares DB US Dollar Bearish Fd (UDN) A+ 17.98% Equity Income
ProShares Ult Sht Russell 2000 Val (SJH) A+ 47.06% Equity Income
CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (FXY) A+ 14.81% Non-US Equity
ProShares Ultra Sht Rus 1000 Value (SJF) A+ 28.79% Equity Income
ProShares Ult Sht Rus Mid Cp Growth (SDK) A+ 13.30% Growth - Domestic
ProShares Ultra Sht Rus 2000 Growth (SKK) A+ 22.05% Growth - Domestic
PowerShares DB US Dollar Bullish Fd (UUP) C -8.61% Equity Income
ProShares Ultra Sht Russell 1000 Gr (SFK) C- 7.70% Growth - Domestic
WisdomTree Earnings 500 Fund (EPS) D+ -5.27% Equity Income
WisdomTree Total Earnings Fund (EXT) D+ -6.21% Equity Income
WisdomTree Earnings Top 100 Fund (EEZ) D+ -6.20% Equity Income
WisdomTree Low P/E Fund (EZY) D -9.52% Equity Income
First Trust NASDAQ-100 Ex-Tech Sec (QQXT) D -5.50% Equity Income
WisdomTree SmallCap Earnings Fund (EES) D -20.50% Growth - Domestic
WisdomTree MidCap Earnings Fund (EZM) D- -13.09% Growth - Domestic
ProShares Ultra Russell 1000 Growth (UKF) D- -11.34% Growth - Domestic
ProShares Ultra Rus Mid Cap Growth (UKW) E+ -16.07% Growth - Domestic
First Trust NASDAQ Cln Edg U.S. Liq (QCLN) E- 6.83% Equity Income
ProShares Ultra Russell 1000 Value (UVG) E- -27.59% Equity Income
ProShares Ultra Rus Mid Cap Value (UVU) E- -33.21% Growth - Domestic
ProShares Ultra Russell 2000 Value (UVT) E- -41.44% Equity Income
ProShares Ultra Russell 2000 Growth (UKK) E- -26.77% Growth - Domestic

Source: TheStreet.com Ratings. For an explanation of our ratings, click here.

Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering mutual funds. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.

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