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Colombia ETF Doubles in a Year, Gets 'A' Rating

Stocks in this article: GXG EC CIB

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Global X/InterBolsa FTSE Colombia 20 ETF (GXG) earned an initial rating of "buy" from Ratings. The exchange traded fund more than doubled in value in one year. Ratings, in all, initiated coverage of six exchange traded funds that accrued a sufficient track record of risk and performance data by the end of March. Five received grades in the "buy" range, and one starts off at "sell."

Three of the five "buy"-rated funds that opened for business in February and March 2009 received the highest possible rating of A-plus, or excellent.

The Colombia ETF, rated A-plus, tracks the performance of the 20 biggest stocks in the Latin American country, including Ecopetrol (EC), BanColombia (CIB), Isagen and Grupo Aval Acciones Valor.

Colombia 20 is one the first ETFs from the Global Funds group that target individual countries. Later offerings working their way through the Securities and Exchange Commission include ETFs covering the leading companies from Argentina, Egypt, Peru, Poland, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

Single country funds carry additional risks because they're not diversified. They have higher risks from currency fluctuations, account-system differences as well as potential economic and political instability.

The second-highest rated and second-best performer of the newly rated exchange traded funds gained 26% in one year by investing in municipal bonds. The A-plus rated Market Vectors High Yield Municipal Index ETF (HYD) follows the Barclays Capital Municipal Custom High Yield Composite Index, which is weighted to 25% investment-grade triple-B bonds and 75% non-investment-grade debt issuances of local governments. Of the non-investment grade debt, about a third of the holdings are unrated. Top industries include health care, industrial development, special tax, airlines, state general obligations, tobacco and transportation.

The third A-plus ETF, SPDR Barclays Capital Long Term Credit Bond ETF (LWC), returned 25% in one year. It's indexed to a Barclays index of bonds with maturities of more than 10 years. The index comprises dollar-denominated investment-grade corporate and sovereign debt. The top corporate securities were issued by AT&T (T), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Pfizer (PFE) and Merck (MRK).

Research methodology

Funds graded A or B are considered "buy"-rated based on a track record of higher-than-average risk-adjusted performance. Funds at the C level are "hold," while underperformers at the D and E levels are "sell."

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