TSC Ratings Starts Coverage on 18 Funds

TheStreet.com Ratings initiated coverage of 18 open-end mutual funds that accrued a track record of three years of risk and performance data by the end of February.

Two of the funds that opened for business in Feb. 2005 received our top rating. Both funds have had a rough time over the last five months. However, over the long run, these funds have outperformed the other funds we rated on return and volatility.

The ING International Value Choice Fund ( IVCAX) earned an initial rating of A+. The fund is focused on stocks from Japan, Canada, France, South Africa, and Australia. Some of the largest holdings include Nippon Telegraph & Telephone ( NTT), Barrick Gold ( ABX), AngloGold Ashanti ( AU) and Newmont Mining ( NEM).

The A+ rated ING Value Choice Fund ( PAVAX) differs in that it has 65.3% U.S. stocks. The holdings performing well over the last year include Newmont Mining, which rose 22.28%; Kinross Gold ( KGC), up 65.31%; Peabody Energy ( BTU), with a gain of 47.37%; and Lihir Gold ( LIHR), with a gain of 67.51%.

Three of the funds listed below turned in extraordinary performance over the year ended Feb. 29 by investing in commodities. They miss out on top ratings, since highly volatile funds are considered riskier.

A 37.47% return over the last 12 months helped the DWS Commodity Securities Fund ( SKNRX) to an initial B- rating. This has been a good year to hold First Solar ( FSLR), up 290.41%; Owens-Illinois ( OI), up 117.30%; and Monsanto ( MON), 114.14% higher.

Starting out at the center of the pack, the Blackrock All-Cap Global Resources Fund ( BACAX), rated C, jumped 47.55% in the 12-month period. The fund's largest holdings are Transocean ( RIG), up 68.53%; Consol Energy ( CNX), gaining 88.26%; Potash ( POT), up 160.99%; and Hess ( HES), up 91.90%.

Lastly, the Direxion Commodity Bull 2X Fund ( DXCLX) gained 73.78%, with 200% leverage to the Morgan Stanley Commodity Related Index. Only about 21% of this fund is invested directly in equities with the remainder in a portfolio of stock index futures, swaps, and options contracts.

Research Methodology

TheStreet.com Ratings condenses the available fund performance and risk data into a single composite opinion of each fund's risk-adjusted performance. This allows the unbiased identification of those funds that have historically done well and those that have underperformed the market. While there is no guarantee of future performance, these Investment Ratings provide a solid framework for making informed, timely investment decisions.

Funds rated A or B are considered "Buy" rated based on a track record of higher than average risk-adjusted performance. Funds at the C level are rated as "Hold," while underperformers at the D and E levels our model ranks as "Sell."

New Coverage of Open-end Stock Mutual Funds as of February 29, 2007

Fund (Ticker) Initial Rating Total Return 1 Year Total Return 3 Years Inception Date Investment Style
ING International Value Choice A (IVCAX) A+ 7.34% 11.71% 2/1/2005 Non-US Equity
ING Value Choice A (PAVAX) A+ 4.77% 16.43% 2/1/2005 Mid Cap
Transamerica Premier SmCp Val Inst (TPSMX) A 25.77% 17.81% 2/1/2005 Small Cap
Janus Global Research Fund (JARFX) A- 12.36% 17.75% 2/25/2005 Growth - Domestic
HSBC Inv Lifeline Grw Strategy A (HAGRX) A- 2.15% 9.58% 2/8/2005 Growth - Domestic
HSBC Inv Lifeline Agg Gr Strat A (HAAGX) A- 3.19% 10.89% 2/14/2005 Aggressive Growth
HSBC Inv Lifeline Mod Gr Strat A (HSAMX) B+ 1.73% 7.71% 2/3/2005 Growth & Income
JPMorgan Value Advtg A (JVAAX) B+ -3.90% 8.76% 2/28/2005 Growth & Income
American Century Focused Growth Inv (AFSIX) B 3.07% 6.43% 2/28/2005 Growth - Domestic
J Hancock Small Cap Intrin Val A (JHIAX) B -1.59% 15.12% 2/28/2005 Small Cap
HSBC Inv Lifeline Cons Gr Strat A (HACGX) B 1.52% 6.12% 2/23/2005 Growth & Income
DWS Commodity Securities A (SKNRX) B- 37.47% 16.36% 2/14/2005 Energy/Natural Res
Janus Fd Inc-Triton Fund (JATTX) C+ 2.90% 13.31% 2/25/2005 Small Cap
BlackRock All Cap Glb Resrces Inv A (BACAX) C 47.55% 29.88% 2/16/2005 Energy/Natural Res
DWS S&P 500 Index Fund A (SXPAX) C- -4.19% 4.70% 2/18/2005 S&P 500 Index
ProFunds-Rising US Dollar Svc (RDPSX) C- -9.19% -1.04% 2/17/2005 Growth - Domestic
Direxion Commodity Bull 2X Fd (DXCLX) C- 73.78% 29.60% 2/17/2005 Growth - Domestic
ING SmallCap Value Multi-Manager A (SAAAX) D -16.64% 3.94% 2/1/2005 Small Cap

Source: TheStreet.com Ratings. For an explanation of our ratings, click here.
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.