TSC Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund ratings and commentary based on award-winning, proprietary tools. Its "safety first" approach to investing aims to reduce risk while seeking solid outperformance on a total return basis.

The closed-end

funds

that won the best grades from TheStreet.com Ratings at the end of April invested in fixed income, especially municipal

bonds

.

We issued grades for 634 closed-end

funds

that had at least one year of trading history as of April 30. Of them, 311 funds earned "buy"-level ratings of B-minus or better.

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The

Van Kampen Bond Fund

(VBF) - Get Report

, one of 23 funds we rated A-plus, has returned 14% in the year through April 30. This fund outperformed its peers by holding the investment-grade debt of

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

,

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

,

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

and

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

.

The

MFS Intermediate Income Trust

(MIN) - Get Report

, which gained 11%, buys debt issued by the governments of the U.S., Japan, the U.K., France, Italy and Germany. It also holds the corporate borrowings of

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

and

ConocoPhillips

(COP) - Get Report

.

The

MFS Government Markets Income Trust

(MGF) - Get Report

, another A-plus fund, gained 10.8% on a portfolio comprised mostly of

Fannie Mae

(FNM)

and

Freddie Mac

(FRE)

mortgage pools. Corporate debt from

Time Warner Cable

(TWC)

,

Kraft Foods

(KFT)

and other companies made up 6% of assets, revving up returns.

For more information, check out 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.