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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 & TheStreet.com 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 & TheStreet.com 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.

For an explanation of our ratings, click here.

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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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