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Muni Funds Dominate August Upgrades List

You can find more stories like this in Ratings section.

Municipal closed-end funds received the largest number of upgrades from Ratings during the month of August, while the once-stellar sector of international funds received the largest number of downgrades in the same time frame.

Seven of the top 10 upgrades were assigned to municipals funds, either national or single state. Municipals' tax-free status and relative safety in relation to the market's recent chaos are obvious lures for investors seeking a safe haven in this volatile time.

In line with the bull run in the Treasury market, which was sparked by a flight to safety, municipals look set to continue to attract investment dollars even if prices are driven up to levels at which yields on these securities compress markedly. Ratings Top Mutual Fund Upgrades in August
Name Ticker New Grade Old Grade Category One-Month Return
Seligman Select Municipal Fund SEL A+ B- Municipal - National -1.09
Engex EGX C E+ Sector - Health/Biotechnology 0.67
Eaton Vance Sh Dur Diversified Inc EVG A B- Global Income 0.52
Van Kampen Trust for Inv NJ Muni VTJ A- C+ Municipal Single State 2.38
Morgan Stanley Ins CA Muni Sec ICS A+ B Municipal Single State 3.40
Claymore/Guggenheim Strat Opp Fund GOF C D- Growth & Income 5.37
BlackRock CA Municipal Income Trust BFZ A B Municipal Single State 0.49
Morgan Stanley Insured Muni Inc Trust IIM A B Municipal - National 0.68
Neuberger Berman Intermediate Muni NBH A B Municipal - National 1.05
Neuberger Berman NY Int Muni NBO A B Municipal Single State 1.80
Source: Ratings

On the other side of the spectrum are the international closed-end funds, which dominate the downgrades list. Seven out of the ten 10 downgrades for August were dished out to funds exposed to Israel, Europe, Australia, Korea, Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific. Ratings Top Mutual Fund Downgrades in August
Name Ticker New Grade Old Grade Category One-Month Return
Eaton Vance Tax Advantage Div Inc EVT C B+ Equity Income -3.10
First Israel Fund ISL C B+ Non-US Equity -4.53
The European Equity Fund EEA C- B Non-US Equity -3.46
Aberdeen Asia-Pacific Income Fund FAX C+ A- Global Income -3.22
Aberdeen Australia Equity Fund IAF C+ A- Non-US Equity -6.61
Korea Equity Fund KEF D C+ Non-US Equity -10.15
Templeton Russia&East European Fund TRF D C+ Non-US Equity -12.65
Clough Global Allocation Fund GLV D- C Growth & Income -5.71
Eaton Vance Tax Adv Glob Div Inc ETG C- B+ Global Equity -4.87
Cornerstone Total Return Fund CRF E+ C Equity Income -4.47
Source: Ratings

For more information, check out an explanation of our ratings.
Sam Patel, CFA, is the manager of mutual fund research for the Ratings.

In keeping with TSC's Investment Policy, employees of Ratings with access to pre-publication ratings data must pre-clear any potential trade through the legal department, and are prohibited from trading any security that is the subject of an unpublished rating revision until the second business day after the rating is published.

While Patel cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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