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Best-Performing 'BRIC' ETFs

Some exchange-traded funds representing the 'BRIC' countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- achieved performance numbers in the month of April that would make many investors happy if they were spread out over a full year.

The 10 BRIC-related funds in the accompanying table each made it into the top 6% of the performance array of the 676 ETFs tracked by Ratings, with gains in the 12%-18% range for the month.

Investor interest in BRIC funds, aroused by sector-leading performances in 2007, has ebbed somewhat in recent months. But the impressive April returns by ETFs that invest in the BRIC nations showed they still have plenty of life left in them.

Three of the funds on the list, as indicated by the word BRIC in their names, invest in all the four countries. The three with "China" embedded in their respective names focus on the largest of the BRIC countries. They include the leading performer on the list for month, the SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC), which jumped 17.97% in April.

GXC was closely followed by the largest fund in the group, the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund (FXI), with total net assets of close to $6 billion. FXI rewarded its holders with an advance for the month of 17.50%.

The pair of Brazil-focused ETFs in the group includes the $4.4 billion iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (EWZ), which gained 17.25% for April and is up 18.08% for the past three months. The other Brazilian ETF, HOLDRS TeleBras (TBH), moved ahead 14.18% in April.

Also included in the table is an ETF that invests in the BRIC nation of India and one with "Chindia" -- China plus India -- investment portfolio. The First Trust ISE Chindia Index Fund (FNI) gained 16.65% in April.

Of six funds on the list with sufficient histories for computations of grades by Ratings, the Claymore/BNY BRIC ETF (EEB) led the class with the highest possible mark of A+. It was kept company by three funds with grades in the "B" range as "buy" recommended by Ratings.

The iPath MSCI India Index ETN (INP) rated a mark of C-, which equates with a "hold" recommendation, while the relatively volatile HOLDRS TeleBras fund was graded E- for a "sell" advisory.

Claymore/BNY BRIC ETF (EEB) A+ 16.12 11.01 419.1 09/21/06 0.64
First Trust ISE Chindia Index Fund (FNI) U 16.65 2.73 104.0 05/11/07 0.60
HOLDRS TeleBras (TBH) E- 14.18 10.83 763.1 07/28/98 N/A
iPath MSCI India Index ETN (INP) C- 12.24 -11.78 906.2 12/19/06 0.89
iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund (FXI) B+ 17.50 10.22 5,850.9 10/05/04 0.74
iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (EWZ) B 17.25 18.08 4,434.3 07/10/00 0.68
iShares MSCI BRIC Index Fund (BKF) U 14.08 10.29 120.2 11/12/07 0.75
PowerShs Golden Dragon Halter USX China (PGJ) B 15.54 4.53 1,049.3 12/09/04 0.70
SPDR S&P Bric 40 ETF (BIK) U 12.81 13.83 156.9 06/19/07 0.40
SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC) U 17.97 9.70 122.6 03/23/07 0.59
Data as of 4/30/2008.
Source: Ratings & Bloomberg.
For an explanation of our ratings, click here.
Richard Widows holds a long-term position in the PowerShares Golden Dragon Halter USX China ETF in a retirement account.

Widows is a senior financial analyst for Ratings. Prior to joining, Widows was senior product manager for quantitative analytics at Thomson Financial. After receiving an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in California, his career included development of investment information systems at data firms, including the Lipper division of Reuters. His international experience includes assignments in the U.K. and East Asia.

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