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) --

Fidelity Investments

increased the number of funds ranked in our third-quarter Top 200 Stock Mutual Funds list to 28 from 20. This biggest of 415 fund families with 662 rated funds earns its ninth consecutive "Ultra" Fund Family title.

Up from third place in June, the runner-up on our Top 200 list of A and A-plus rated funds, published in our Fall 2009 Guide to Stock Mutual Funds by

Grey House Publishing

, is


, with nine.

Honorable mentions go to

Alliance Bernstein

, a unit of

Axa SA

( AXA);

John Hancock

, a division of

Manulife Financial

(MFC) - Get Free Report

; and

Transamerica Funds

, a subsidiary of

Aegon NV

(AEG) - Get Free Report

. They tied for third place, each with six unique funds among the top 200.

We also publish a more comprehensive review of the fund families in which size matters less than overall results.

For a fund family to be considered an "Ultra" Fund Family, a company needs to place the highest percentage of funds ranked in the top 30% of all open-end funds in comparison with other fund families of similar size. The top 30% represents overall investment grades of A-plus down to B-minus. The middle 40% carry fund grades of C-plus, C and C-minus. D-plus and lower fall into the bottom 30%.

In this "Ultra" Fund Family competition,

Van Kampen

, a unit of

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Free Report

, wins for the second consecutive quarter by having a higher share of its portfolio of funds ranked in the top 30%, or "buy" range, than any of the other fund families with 100 or more rated funds. Van Kampen boosted the percentage of its 171 rated funds in the top category to 57% from the previous quarter's 45%.

Up one spot to second place,

T. Rowe Price

(TROW) - Get Free Report

scored 56% of its 116 rated offerings in the "buy" range of B-minus or better. The only other large fund family with more than half its funds rated at "buy" was


, a division of

Sun Life Financial

(SLF) - Get Free Report

with 52.4% of its 315 funds ranked in the top 30%.

Of the 30 fund families with 40 to 99 rated funds,

Royce Funds

, a unit of

Legg Mason

(LM) - Get Free Report

retained the top spot for a second quarter in a row with 60% of the firm's 48 funds ranked as "buy."

Pacific Life Funds

, with 55 rated funds, held second place with 46%, up from 38%, of their funds ranked in the top 30%.

Pimco Funds

moved from 12th place to third with 45% of its 51 funds top-ranked.

First Eagle

wins the "Ultra" Fund Family crown within the group of 68 fund companies with 10 to 39 rated funds. Twelve of First Eagle's 15 rated funds ranked in the top 30%.

Henderson Global Funds

, a unit of



, retained second place with 75% top-ranked funds.


rose to third place from sixth with 67% of its funds "buy" rated.

A total of 281 fund families have less than 10 rated open-end stock mutual funds. The budding "Ultra" Fund Family leading this group,

Oak Associates Funds

, kept all six of its funds in the top 30%.

Harding Loevner Funds

, with five of five, and

Westport Funds

, with four of four, also score 100% top-rated funds and earned honorable mentions.

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.