Here are lists of the five most-improved and five most-deteriorated closed-end fund ratings from Feb. 29 to March 31, according to TheStreet.com Ratings data.
The most-improved closed-end fund this month is the
ING Global Equity Dividend & Premium Opportunity Fund
. The fund was upgraded to a rating of C, or hold, from a rating of E+, or sell.
Positive returns for March of 11.68% from
, 11.53% from
Fording Canadian Coal Trust
( FDG) and 11.02% from
HSBC Holdings PLC
helped this fund rebound, landing in the middle of the fund-rating pack over the long run.
In second place among closed-end funds on our most-improved rating list is the
Cohen & Steers Quality Income Realty Fund
, also moving up five notches to a rating of C from E+. This fund is 97% invested in REITs, with nearly 96% of its assets in U.S. securities.
The top three performing holdings:
, up 15.87%;
Senior Housing Properties Trust
, up 11.43%; and
Nationwide Health Properties
( NHP), up 11.28% are all health-care REITs less affected by the overall economy.
The most-deteriorated list includes funds being downgraded to hold from buy, as well as funds sliding to sell from hold. The two largest falls in March closed-end ratings were both four notches down.
Dropping to a sell rating of D-, the
Clough Global Equity Fund
lost 3.12% in March. Its worst-performing holding in March,
Nine Dragons Paper Holdings
plunged 54.79%. The company's first-half profit margin shrank as recycled-paper costs, needed to make their containerboard, rose.
Other sore spots included March declines of 35.58% from
Delta Air Lines
, 35.41% from
Anworth Mortgage Asset
and 34.88% from
Another fund being severely downgraded for underperforming on risk-adjusted return is the
Nuveen Connecticut Dividend Advantage Municipal Fund 3
( NGO). Being exempt from regular federal and Connecticut income tax is of no benefit if the fund loses money in the long run.
For an explanation of our ratings,
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.