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ETFs With the Biggest Ratings Changes

Here are lists of the five most-improved and five most-deteriorated ETF ratings from Feb. 29 to March 31.

One month does not make a trend, but investors are continually asking, "What have you done for me -- or to me -- lately?" With each additional month of data, Ratings updates its ranking scorecard, assigning new ratings to each fund.

The most-improved bond fund this month is the PowerShares Dynamic Mid Cap Growth Portfolio (PWJ). This fund bottomed in March and appears to be building back toward last year's highs.

The strongest holdings for March include Kirby (KEX), up 26.44%; GameStop (GME), up 22.07%; Perrigo (PRGO), up 12.90%; and Landstar Systems (LSTR).

Vanguard European ETF (VGK) ranks in second place on our most-improved list. At A-, this fund has been upgraded to buy from hold. The positive return of 1.31% for March added the long run outperformance of its ETF peers. One of the fund's largest holdings, HSBC Holdings (HBC), gained 11.02% during the month of March.

Most Improved ETF Ratings From February to March
Fund (Ticker) New Rating Feb Rating 1 Month Return % Objective
PowerShares Dynamic Mid Cap Growth (PWJ) B D -1.49 Growth - Domestic
Vanguard European ETF (VGK) A- C- 1.31 Non-US Equity
Vanguard Pacific ETF (VPL) B+ D+ -1.92 Non-US Equity
PowerShares Dynamic Large Cap Value (PWV) B C- -0.50 Equity Income
PowerShares Wilder Clean Energy (PBW) C- E -5.41 Sector - Energy/Natural Res
Source: Ratings & Bloomberg

Four of the five funds on the most-deteriorated list were downgraded to hold from buy. The fifth fund just missed the buy cutoff in February before dropping to a much lower hold rating in March.

The largest fall in March ETF ratings was experienced by the WisdomTree International Energy Sector Fund (DKA). This fund is highly volatile. Over the last year, it surged nearly 20%, lost all its gains, rallied again to more than 20%, crashed to zero return and is back up to a one-year return of 21.44% through Friday April 18. If it stays on the current skyrocketing trajectory, an upgrade back to buy looks likely.

The second fund on our most-deteriorated list is the Market Vectors-Environmental Services ETF (EVX). One-month declines of 26.78% from Shaw Group (SGR), 26.13% from Basin Water (BWTR) and 15.82% from Metalico (MEA) took their toll on this fund.

Most Deteriorated ETF Ratings From February to March
Fund (Ticker) New Rating Feb Rating 1 Month Return % Objective
WisdomTree International Energy (DKA) C+ A- -2.14 Sector - Energy/Natural Res
Market Vectors Environment Ind ETF (EVX) C B -4.61 Equity Income
PowerShares DB G10 Currency Harvest (DBV) C B- -4.17 Equity Income
HealthShares Diagnostic (HHD) C+ B -2.43 Sector - Health/Biotechnology
PowerShares FTSE RAFI Basic Mat (PRFM) C C+ -2.88 Equity Income
Source: Ratings & Bloomberg

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, 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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