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Barclays Dominates List of Best-Rated ETFs

Barclays has more best-rated ETFs in the top 25 than any other company.
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TSC Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund ratings and commentary based on award-winning, proprietary tools. Its "safety first" approach to investing aims to reduce risk while seeking solid outperformance on a total return basis.



dominates the list of the 25 best-rated exchange-traded funds on the strength of its fixed-income funds during the longest recession in more than half a century.

Twenty-one of the 25 most highly rated ETFs are owned by Barclays or track a Barclays index.

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Barclays agreed to sell its iShares ETFs to CVC Capital Partners for $4.4 billion. The pending sale is bullish for Barclays in that the deal locks in a fair price while allowing the company to continue to shop iShares to other potential suitors until the acquisition closes. Also, if CVC successfully resells iShares, Barclays gets 20% of the increase in cash.

Barclays retains the revenue generated from the securities servicing for iShares, although

State Street



Bank of New York Mellon


have been cited as potential bidders on this business.

The three best-rated exchange-traded funds based on March 31 data are

Market Vectors-Barclays AMT-Free Short Municipal ETF



SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term Municipal Bond ETF


and the

iShares Barclays 10-20 Year Treasury Bond Fund


. In this time of financial uncertainty, the "buy"-rated fixed income ETFs listed below can be used to balance the overall risk in an investor's portfolio.

The only two non-fixed-income ETFs with top grades on the list are bullish currency plays. The

PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund


is a bet on the U.S. dollar against the euro, Japanese yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swedish krona and Swiss franc. The

Market Vectors-Renminbi/USD ETN


uses short-term forward contracts to benefit from a rise in China's currency in relation to the U.S. dollar.

The grades can be interpreted as follows: A is "excellent" or "buy." B is "good" or "buy." C is "fair" or "hold." D is "weak" or "sell." And E is "very weak" or "sell." A plus or minus sign designates that a fund is in the top or bottom third of funds with the same letter grade. Ratings, recently cited for Best Stock Selection from October 2007 through February 2009 , is an independent research provider that combines fundamental and technical analysis to offer investors tremendous value in volatile times. To see how your portfolio can use this research,

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Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by, 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.