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Short Stock Funds Clean Up

These short, or inverse, funds have posted impresive monthly, quarterly and year-to-date returns.
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Recent debate has raged about the

leveraged shorting strategies

employed by some exchange-traded fund products in the market, and Jim Cramer and others have pointed out issues in regards to rebalancing, as well as the increased volatility these investment vehicles bring to the market. Them there's the ultimate criticism: some performance numbers, especially of sector funds, are outright disastrous.

This does not mean that all shorting strategies employed by ETFs can be debunked as can be seen from the TSC Ratings table of the top 20 rated stock mutual funds for the month of November. All funds below carry an A+ rating; however, the clear difference in the list is the top three funds, which are all designed to profit from market falls.

Investors should focus their attention on the

Federated Prudent Bear Fund


, the

Rydex Series Inverse S&P 500 Strategy Fund


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TheStreet Recommends

and the

ProFunds Bear ProFund


. These funds are still going to benefit from potential market downdrafts that will be in existence in 2009.

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As can be seen from the returns over the past month, quarter and year to date, these funds have consistently outperformed their competitors and needless to say the market as a whole. Keep them in mind for the New Year.

Sam Patel, CFA, is the manager of mutual fund research for the Ratings.

In keeping with TSC's Investment Policy, employees of Ratings with access to pre-publication ratings data must pre-clear any potential trade through the legal department, and are prohibited from trading any security that is the subject of an unpublished rating revision until the second business day after the rating is published.

While Patel cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he appreciates your feedback;

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