Half of Newly Rated ETFs Earn 'Buy' Grades

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- TheStreet.com Ratings initiated coverage of 13 exchange traded funds, assigning seven of them "buy" ratings.

Five earned "sell" ratings and one was labeled "hold." Six of the seven "buy"-rated funds received our highest rating, A-plus.

The highest-rated and best performing ETF among them was the Direxion Technology Bull 3X Shares Fund ( TYH), which has more than tripled in the past year. This fund is triple leveraged to the daily performance of the Russell 1000 Technology Index, whose members include Microsoft ( MSFT), Apple ( AAPL), IBM ( IBM) and Google ( GOOG).

Four other bullishly leveraged ETFs that bet on precious metals or international markets earned "buy" ratings. The bearish versions of these funds earned "sell" ratings after taking massive losses in 2009. With an average daily trading volume of 517,222 in 2009, the leveraged funds were more popular than the three newly rated unleveraged funds, which averaged 7,534 shares a day.

While leveraged funds are designed for short-term trading, two of the "buy"-rated unleveraged funds are meant for long-term investors. The iShares S&P Target Date 2040 Index Fund ( TZV) is intended for investors who aim to retire in 2040. It invests in other iShares funds, including those that follow the S&P 500, the MSCI EAFE indices. The other unleveraged fund, the WisdomTree LargeCap Growth Fund ( ROI), was one of the best-rated equity funds last year.

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. The funds listed below have reached their one year anniversary.

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 "hold," while those at the D and E levels are rated "sell."

-- Reported by Kevin Baker in Jupiter, Fla.

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.

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