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 10 top-rated equity exchange traded funds underscore the diversity of the rebound that started almost three months ago.

The ETFs in the accompanying table, gathered from a review by TheStreet.com Ratings, include five retail funds. Among them are the PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverages ( PBJ) and Rydex S&P Equal Weighted Consumer Discretionary ETF ( RCD).

TheStreet.com Ratings

A broad-based consumer ETF received the best rating. The SPDR Retail ETF ( XRT) sports the best year-to-date and 12-month performances, with returns of 36% and negative 14%, respectively. Recent holdings include Amazon.com ( AMZN), CVS Caremark ( CVS), Walgreen ( WAG) and Wal-Mart ( WMT).

There are also a technology fund and three international funds. Geographically, they include an Asian ETF, a South American number and the iShares Global Telecom Fund ( IXP), which casts investment nets internationally as well as domestically.

Rounding out the equity funds is the Claymore/Sabrient Insider ETF ( NFO), whose portfolio consists of companies whose officers and directors have been acquiring shares. Recent major holdings include Aflac ( AFL), PNC Financial ( PNC) and Deluxe Corp. ( DLX).

The list of top-rated fixed-income ETFs contains three muni bond funds and seven that invest either in Treasury securities or government-backed issues. All maturities are covered, with the top two on the list being short-term muni funds followed by an intermediate Treasury and then a longer-term Treasury fund.

The roster of the top five commodity and currency ETFs includes two that track precious metals and three currency funds. Geographic diversity is available in the currency ETFs, with a U.S. dollar fund, a euro ETF and one that follows the Chinese renminbi.

Top-Rated ETFs From TheStreet.com Ratings*
SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) B+ A+ C+ 36.17 -14.30 0.5
iShares MSCI Malaysia (EWM) B B+ C+ 11.52 -28.88 4.4
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) B C+ B -7.31 -18.39 2.2
Rydex S&P Eq Wgt Con Disc ETF (RCD) B B C+ 19.45 -28.80 1.7
Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC) B C+ B -5.89 -19.20 2.2
iShares S&P Global Telecom (IXP) B- C+ B -12.47 -33.03 4.3
Claymore/Sabrient Insider ETF (NFO) B- C+ B- 9.65 -24.59 3.0
HOLDRS Internet Architecture (IAH) B- B C+ 18.41 -21.74 0.0
iShares MSCI Brazil (EWZ) B- B+ C+ 28.89 -47.49 0.9
PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage (PBJ) B- C+ B- -2.30 -22.97 3.1
Market Vectors Short Muni (SMB) A+ A+ B+ 4.23 6.17 2.8
SPDR Barclays Cap Short Term Muni B (SHM) A+ A+ B+ 1.82 5.96 2.2
iShares Barclays 3-7 Year Treasury (IEI) A+ A B+ -1.56 7.88 2.5
iShares Barclays 10-20 Yr Treasury (TLH) A+ A+ B -7.36 9.23 4.0
SPDR Barclays Cap Interm Term Trs E (ITE) A+ A B+ -1.38 6.95 2.3
iShares Barclays MBS Bond Fd (MBB) A+ A+ B 1.68 7.20 3.0
iShares Barclays Govt/Credit Bd (GBF) A+ A B+ -1.53 3.26 4.0
iShares S&P National Municipal Bond (MUB) A+ A+ B 3.13 4.22 3.9
iShares Barclays Intrm Govt/Crdt Bd (GVI) A+ A- B+ -2.32 3.18 3.9
iShares Barclays 7-10Yr Treasury Bd (IEF) A+ A+ B -4.13 9.23 3.5
PowerShares DB US Dollar Bullish Fd (UUP) A+ A- B 2.63 12.85 0.0
PowerShares DB Gold Fund (DGL) A+ A B- 0.25 -0.60 0.0
Market Vectors Chinese Renminbi USD (CNY) A+ B+ B 2.03 2.57 0.0
CurrencyShares Euro Trust (FXE) A- B+ B -5.08 -13.23 0.4
PowerShares DB Precious Metals Fund (DBP) B+ A- B- 1.55 -6.24 0.0
* Leveraged and "inverse" ETFs excluded.
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings & Bloomberg (Data as of 4/30/2009).
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.

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