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Tech, Internet Funds Jumped in Week

This week the average technology, Internet & telecommunications fund we track rose 4.14%. The Dow Jones U.S. Technology, Telecommunications, & Semiconductor Indexes climbed 5.60%, 4.82%, and 4.42%, respectively, for the five trading days ending Thursday, April 24.

As confidence in the American economy hits a 26-year low on the Reuters/University of Michigan Sentiment Index, gasoline bubbles to about $4 a gallon and real estate requiring long commutes remains depressed. This has consumers cutting back on premium items such as Starbucks (SBUX) coffee and restricting purchases to must-have products like Apple's (AAPL) MacBook Air.

Apple reported 36% higher second-quarter net income topping $1 billion and a 43% bump in sales to $7.51 billion. Its shares gained 9.35% for the period under review.

Meanwhile, by rolling out AT&T (T) high-speed Internet Wi-Fi service at 7,000 locations by year's end, Starbucks may be trying to convince investors that should be valued as a tech stock where customers rent a half hour of Internet usage for each Venti Caramel Macchiato purchased.

The top-performing technology, Internet or telecommunications fund this week is the Ultra Technology ProShares (ROM), up 9.73%. The fund is 200% leveraged to the stocks of the Dow Jones U.S. Technology Index, while the fourth-place ProFunds Technology UltraSector ProFund (TEPIX) gained 8.33% on 150% leverage.

Top index holdings include Microsoft (MSFT), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Google (GOOG), and IBM (IBM). Microsoft reported $4.93 billion in quarterly earnings, which missed expectations and lagged the same quarter last year, yet the stock added 8.83% for the week. Another index member, F5 Networks (FFIV), advanced 19.58% this week, reporting 25% year-over-year revenue growth in its fiscal second quarter.

The second-place fund, Ultra Telecommunications ProShares (LTL), is a brand-new, barely traded fund 200% leveraged to the Dow Jones U.S. Telecom Index. Sprint Nextel (S) jumped 22.85% while Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWX) pulled out of the "Pivot" joint venture, with customers reverting to Sprint mobile-phone plans. Level 3 Communications (LVLT) popped 22.77% in a short-squeeze by shrinking its quarterly loss.

PowerShares Dynamic Networking Portfolio (PXQ) held third place with a return of 8.86%. The holdings making the biggest moves include Broadcom (BRCM), up 28.13%; PMC - Sierra (PMCS), up 26.22%; Altheros Communications (ATHR), up 12.28%; and Juniper Networks (JNPR), up 10.15%.

Best Performing Technology Funds for the Week Ending Thursday April 24
Fund Ticker Rating Fund Type 1 Week Total Return
Ultra Technology ProShares ROM E- ETF 9.73%
Ultra Telecommunications ProShares LTL U ETF 8.94%
Powershares Dynamic Networking Portfolio PXQ E- ETF 8.86%
ProFunds Technology UltraSector Profund TEPIX E Open-End 8.33%
Ultra Semiconductor ProShares USD E- ETF 8.14%
Kinetics Internet Emerging Growth Fund WWWEX D- Open-End 7.58%
RS Technology Fund RSIFX D- Open-End 7.41%
Fidelity Select Networking and Infrastructure Portfolio FNINX E- Open-End 7.14%
ProFunds Semiconductor UltraSector ProFund SMPIX E- Open-End 6.50%
Fidelity Select Software & Computer Services Portfolio FSCSX C+ Open-End 6.43%
Source: Bloomberg & Ratings

The two worst performing funds are the inverse funds of the two best performers: UltraShort Technology ProShares (REW), down 9.12%; and UltraShort Telecommunications ProShares (TLL), down 8.80%.

On top of losing twice the gains in Broadcom and PMC - Sierra, the UltraShort Semiconductors ProShares (SSG) suffered the 23.30% ascent in LSI (LSI), 22.53% in Marvell Technology (MRVL), and the 19.00% in RF Micro Devices Inc (RFMD).

Not only did Broadcom report a great first quarter, with 22% higher net income on 15% higher sales due in part to strong sales of Nintendo (NTDOY) Wii videogame consoles, but it also issued bullish second quarter revenue guidance. PMC - Sierra also beat analyst estimates on 21% higher sales, as did LSI, with a 42% bigger quarterly top-line figure.

Worst Performing Technology Funds for the Week Ending Thursday April 24
Fund Ticker Rating Fund Type 1 Week Total Return
UltraShort Technology ProShares REW C ETF -9.12%
UltraShort Telecommunications ProShares TLL U ETF -8.80%
UltraShort Semiconductors ProShares SSG A ETF -8.56%
ProFunds Mobile Telecom UltraSector ProFund WCPIX E- Open-End -1.94%
First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund FDN E+ ETF -1.58%
B2B Internet HOLDRs Trust BHH E- ETF -0.04%
John Hancock Technology Leaders Fund LUXRX U Open-End 0.00%
Forward Emerald Opportunities Fund HSYTX U Open-End 0.48%
PowerShares Lux Nanotech Portfolio PXN E ETF 0.56%
First American Small-Mid Cap Core Fund FATCX C+ Open-End 0.60%
Source: Bloomberg & Ratings

This year AT&T plans to spend nearly $20 billion to speed up the phone line and wireless handset access to the Internet. This can only be good for all technology businesses trying to make money on the net.

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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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