Focusing on dividends wasn't enough to help some closed-end funds avoid low grades from TheStreet.com Ratings.
The list of 25 lowest-rated closed-end funds below is dotted with the words "dividends," "return" and "income." Normally, funds with higher-than-average dividend yields rank in the middle; they're neither top performers nor cellar dwellers. But the credit crunch and stock market implosion have taken no prisoners.
Almost all of the funds have lost half their value or more in the past year, with one losing 94%. They all earned overall grades of D-minus or worse, which amount to "sell" recommendations.Several of these funds target real estate securities internationally, meaning those outside the U.S., or globally, which include domestic companies. The housing market has been one of the hardest-hit industries of this recession. In contrast, the top-rated closed-end funds invest in municipal bonds. They are also the category's best performers. TheStreet.com Ratings uses a computerized model to evaluate a fund's performance and volatility, which is reflected in the "reward" and "risk" grades. Funds with the lowest "overall" ratings have attained the worst combination of the two. To learn more about TheStreet.com Ratings' methodology, click here.
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