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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


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



We issued grades for 634 closed-end


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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Van Kampen Bond Fund

(VBF) - Get Invesco Bond Fund 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 Wells Fargo & Company Report

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TheStreet Recommends


General Electric

(GE) - Get General Electric Company Report


Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Report



(T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report



MFS Intermediate Income Trust

(MIN) - Get MFS Intermediate Income Trust 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


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report



(COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report



MFS Government Markets Income Trust

(MGF) - Get MFS Government Markets Income Trust Report

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

Fannie Mae



Freddie Mac


mortgage pools. Corporate debt from

Time Warner Cable



Kraft Foods


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, 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.