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When we last reviewed the perpetually winning mutual funds back in January 2008, the New England Patriots were one game away from a perfect season. They stumbled and so did the financial world, which has since been tossed on its head.

With the market's extreme volatility and bear market selloff, all

five perpetually winning

open-end stock mutual funds that had maintained A+ grades from Ratings for the two-year period ending Dec. 31, 2007, have fallen back into the pack. Likewise for the additional nine funds that had held A or A+ ratings for those two years.

As part of our quarterly fund review, Ratings ranked and awarded letter grades to 12,290 open-end stock mutual funds. Of those, 3,607 earned the equivalent of a buy rating with letter grades of B- or better. Once multiple share classes are eliminated, the number of buy-rated funds drops to 969 unique funds.

Only 55 of these funds have maintained a buy rating of B- or better for the last two years by outperforming 70% of the universe of open-end stock mutual funds we rate. Only one primary share class fund, the

Amana Income Fund

(AMANX) - Get Amana Mutual Funds Trust - Income Fund Report

has not dropped below a rating of A- for the past two years.

The Amana Income Fund selects its investments based on Islamic principles, leading to large holdings of


(NKE) - Get Nike Inc. Report



(KMB) - Get Kimberly-Clark Corporation Report


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Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company (The) Report



(MMM) - Get 3M Company Report



(K) - Get Kellogg Company Report


When opening the criteria to institutional and other non-primary share class funds, two more funds make the A- or better list. The

BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund

(MADVX) - Get BlackRock Eq Dividend I Report

has outperformed its peers by betting at least 80% of its assets in dividend-paying securities. The fund's notable holdings include

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report



(T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report


Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corporation Report


General Electric

(GE) - Get General Electric Company Report


Also in this same group is the

Franklin Mutual Discovery Fund

(MDISX) - Get Mutual Global Discovery Fund Report

. This fund has a consistent record of

beating the S&P 500

, as noted in a study by fellow analyst Richard Widows.

With mutual funds, as with any investment, you can lose money; past performance is no guarantee of future results. With the next set of ratings, any of the above funds could be downgraded for bad performance or excess volatility.

For more information, check out an explanation of Ratings' system.And for more coverage from Ratings team, check out Ratings section.

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.