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Three Newly Rated ETFs Earn Top Grades

Three newly rated funds that invest in bonds and currencies have earned top grades from TheStreet.com Ratings, reflecting strong performance after a year of trading.

We started covering 12 exchange-traded funds and two fixed-income mutual funds last month after collecting a year's worth of risk and return data. Four of these funds received initial grades of B-plus or better, which equal "buy" recommendations. Seven earned D and E grades, indications to "sell."

Among the funds with "excellent" ratings, two invest in bonds. The Market Vectors Short Municipal Index ETF (SMB), which tracks the Barclays Capital AMT-Free Short Continuous Municipal index, received an A-plus grade. This former Lehman Brothers (LEHMQ) index follows investment-grade municipal bonds with maturities of one to six years.

The Claymore U.S. Capital Markets Micro-Term Fixed Income ETF (ULQ) also earned an A-plus. The fund follows the Capital Markets Liquidity index, which includes investment-grade bonds with maturities of less than a year, commercial paper and other short-term securities.

The Barclays Asian and Gulf Currency Revaluation Exchange Traded Note (PGD) starts out with an A grade. This fund is designed to rise as currencies in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates strengthen against the U.S. dollar. Investors can also sell this fund short as a bullish bet on the dollar.

Two RiverSource funds reached the three-year mark required to be eligible for mutual fund ratings. Both the RiverSource Floating Rate Fund (RFRAX) and the RiverSource Emerging Markets Bond Fund (REBAX) earned initial grades of E-plus, or "sell." Both funds have lost more than 20% in the past year.

TheStreet.com Ratings uses a computerized model to evaluate funds' performance and risk data. The funds below started trading a year ago. For detailed rating information, click here.

New Coverage of Exchange-Traded Funds
Fund (Ticker) Initial Rating
Reward Grade
Risk Grade
Total Return 1 Year
Inception Date
Market Vectors Short Municipal Index ETF (SMB) A+
A
B+
4.49%
2/22/2008
Claymore/Dorchester Micro-Term Fixed Income ETF (ULQ) A+
A-
B+
1.33%
2/12/2008
Barclays Asian and Gulf Currency Revaluation ETN (PGD) A
B+
B
-1.29%
2/5/2008
Claymore/Dorchester - The Capital Markets Bond Index ETF (UBD) B+
B+
B-
-1.81%
2/12/2008
Claymore/Dorchester US-1 - The Capital Markets Index ETF (UEM) C
C
C+
-20.72%
2/12/2008
ELEMENTS Linked to the MLCX Biofuels Index Total Return (FUE) D-
D+
D-
-46.17%
2/5/2008
ELEMENTS Linked to the MLCX Grains Index Total Return (GRU) D-
D+
D-
-48.24%
2/5/2008
SPDR S&P International Dividend ETF (DWX) D-
E+
D+
-63.44%
2/12/2008
RevenueShares Large Cap ETF (RWL) E
D-
D-
-50.15%
2/22/2008
RevenueShares Mid Cap ETF (RWK) E
D-
D-
-51.65%
2/22/2008
WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (EPI) E
D-
D-
-59.20%
2/21/2008
RevenueShares Small Cap ETF (RWJ) E
E+
D-
-52.99%
2/22/2008
Source: TheStreet.com & Bloomberg

Stock quotes in this article: SMB, ULQ, PGD 
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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