Editor's note: Richard Widows will be on Stockpickr Answers on Thursday to answer questions posed by members of the Stockpickr community. Not a member? Join the Stockpickr community today -- free.

Focusing on dividends wasn't enough to help some closed-end funds avoid low grades from TheStreet.com Ratings.

The list of 25 lowest-rated closed-end funds below is dotted with the words "dividends," "return" and "income." Normally, funds with higher-than-average dividend yields rank in the middle; they're neither top performers nor cellar dwellers. But the credit crunch and stock market implosion have taken no prisoners.

Almost all of the funds have lost half their value or more in the past year, with one losing 94%. They all earned overall grades of D-minus or worse, which amount to "sell" recommendations.

Several of these funds target real estate securities internationally, meaning those outside the U.S., or globally, which include domestic companies. The housing market has been one of the hardest-hit industries of this recession.

In contrast, the top-rated closed-end funds invest in municipal bonds. They are also the category's best performers.

TheStreet.com Ratings uses a computerized model to evaluate a fund's performance and volatility, which is reflected in the "reward" and "risk" grades. Funds with the lowest "overall" ratings have attained the worst combination of the two. To learn more about TheStreet.com Ratings' methodology, click here.

Worst-Rated Closed-End Funds by TheStreet.com Ratings
NAME
TICKER
Reward Grade
Risk Grade
Overall Grade
12-Month Total Ret'n (%)
Kayne Anderson Engy Development Co
KED
E+
E-
E-
-65.76
RMR Dividend Capture Fund
RCR
E-
E+
E-
-93.71
First Trust/Gallatin Spl Fin & Finl
FGB
E-
E+
E-
-79.73
The Cushing MLP Total Return Fund
SRV
E-
D-
E-
-68.65
Seligman LaSalle Intl Real Est Fd
SLS
E-
D-
E-
-76.33
DWS RREEF Wrld Real Est & Tac Stra
DRP
E
D-
E-
-71.08
DCW Total Return Fund
DCW
E-
D
E-
-80.65
First Trust Strategic High Inc III
FHO
E+
D-
E-
-60.70
RMR Asia Real Estate Fund
RAF
E+
D-
E
-62.98
First Trust Active Dividend Inc Fd
FAV
D-
D-
E
-51.51
Tortoise Capital Resources Corp.
TTO
D+
E-
E+
-50.95
Cornerstone Progressive Return Fund
CFP
D+
E
E+
-47.27
Advent/Claymore Gbl Con Sec & Inc
AGC
D-
D
E+
-61.05
Calamos Global Dynamic Income Fd
CHW
D-
D-
E+
-55.19
RMR Preferred Dividend Fund
RDR
E+
D
E+
-92.31
Cohen & Steers Global Inc Builder
INB
E
D+
E+
-63.33
Alpine Global Premier Properties Fd
AWP
E-
D+
E+
-78.92
Dow 30 Enhanced Premium & Income Fd
DPO
D-
D
E+
-51.21
BlackRock Intl Grth and Inc Tr
BGY
D
D-
E+
-53.07
DWS RREEF Real Estate Fund
SRQ
E+
D
E+
-92.85
BlackRock EcoSolutions Investment T
BQR
D-
D
E+
-56.55
Delaware Enhanced Glb Div & Inc Fd
DEX
D-
D
D-
-55.53
Van Kampen Dynamic Credit Opp
VTA
D
D-
D-
-52.90
Helios High Income Fund Inc
HIH
D
D-
D-
-67.93
Nuveen Tax-Advantaged Dividend Grth
JTD
E+
D+
D-
-57.98
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings (Data as of end of most recent month).
For an explanation of our ratings, click here.
Richard Widows is a senior financial analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, Widows was senior product manager for quantitative analytics at Thomson Financial. After receiving an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in California, his career included development of investment information systems at data firms, including the Lipper division of Reuters. His international experience includes assignments in the U.K. and East Asia.