Emerging-Markets ETF Wins Best Marks - TheStreet

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The PowerShares Emerging Markets Infrastructure Portfolio (PXR) remained the highest-rated exchange traded fund last year. The ETF, which holds equities, rose 78%.

An inescapable truth is that Father Time and Mother Nature wreak havoc on bridges, roads and other man-made structures. And while the developed world rebuilds, the developing world measures progress in miles of roads paved and in numbers of new structures built.

The ETF is indexed to the

S-Network Emerging Infrastructure Builders Index

, which includes companies such as

ABB

(ABB) - Get Report

,

Vale

(VALE) - Get Report

,

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

,

Foster Wheeler

(FWLT)

and

KBR

(KBR) - Get Report

, all of which benefit from the construction and reconstruction push.

Another highly rated ETF was the

WisdomTree LargeCap Growth Fund

( ROI), which rose 22% in 2009. Five stocks account for nearly 39% of fund assets:

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

,

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Report

,

Wal-Mart Stores

(WMT) - Get Report

,

Occidental Petroleum

(OXY) - Get Report

and

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

. The weighting is based on fundamental factors such as cash dividends and core earnings, not market value. Counting cash dividends paid out and eliminating one-time earnings limit potential effects from accounting shenanigans. And restricting the index to companies making money aids the overall return.

Those two ETFs and the other eight funds listed on the next page earned our highest possible rating of A-plus at year-end with the best combinations of high return and moderate risk.

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.