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A pair of high-yield "bear" bond funds (not to be confused with the old-fashioned "bearer bonds") are among the quartet of new fixed-income funds to be graded by Ratings.

"The fund seeks to provide investment results and correspond generally to the inverse (opposite) of the total return of the high-yield market consistent with maintaining reasonable liquidity," states the Access Flex Bear High Yield Fund ( AFBQX).

To achieve its objective of inverse performance with the high-yield market, AFBQX primarily employs financial instruments such as credit default swaps, interest-rate swap agreements and futures contracts in addition to other financial instruments whose value is derived from high-yield debt securities, debt and money market instruments.

Like AFBQX, the Direxion High Yield Bear Fund ( PHBRX) aims to gain value when high-yield bond values erode. While both AFBQX and PHBRX use various derivative instruments to achieve their "inverse" investment postures, the Direxion fund also does some of its work the old fashioned way -- with short-selling.

"The fund seeks to profit from a decline in the value of lower quality debt instruments by creating short positions in such instruments and derivatives of such instruments," states the PHBRX fund's literature.

Also, in addition to the "high yield" euphemism used to describe the fixed-income market that its performance inversely emulates, the fund also candidly uses the pejorative "J" word in describing the debt instruments that underlie its purpose in life.

"The fund invests at least 80% of its net assets in high yield debt instruments, commonly referred to as junk bonds or derivatives of such instruments," says PHBRX. "Debt instruments include corporate debt securities, convertible securities and zero coupon securities." (Emphasis added.)

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