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Best of Funds

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During a market downturn investors often turn to precious metals investments as a source of comfort. This is also a period when they can outperform equity securities, posting consistently higher returns. Precious metals are also natural hedges against a declining currency. Thus, their presence in a portfolio not only provides sufficient diversification but also protects investments against inflation. Widely diversified portfolios and the benefits of professional management make precious metals funds the brightest choice for investing in this sector.

Below we will share with you 5 top rated precious metals funds. Each has earned a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) as we expect the fund to outperform its peers in the future. To view the Zacks Rank and past performance of all precious metals funds, then click here.

AIM Gold & Precious Metals (FGLDX - MF report) invests at least 80% of its assets in companies in the precious metals sector or in gold bullion. It may utilize all of its assets to purchase foreign securities from the precious metals sector. The precious metals fund has a five year annualized return of 16.54%.

The Fund Manager is Andrew Lees and he has managed this precious metals fund since 2008.

Tocqueville Gold (TGLDX) seeks capital appreciation. It invests the majority of its assets in gold or companies involved in mining or processing of gold worldwide. The fund may also consider other precious metals for investment purposes. Up to 20% of its total assets may be invested directly in gold bullion and other precious metals. It is a no load fund

The precious metals fund returned 71.82% in the last one year period and has a three year annualized return of 9.49%.

US Global Investors World Precious Minerals (UNWPX) invests the majority of its assets in companies primarily involved with exploration, mining or processing of gold and other precious metals. It looks to invest in companies with economic linkages with at least three foreign countries. The precious metals fund has a ten year annualized return of 18.74%.

Ralph P. Aldis is the fund manager and he has managed this precious metals fund since 2007.

Midas (MIDSX - MF report) seeks to provide protection against inflation and capital growth. At least 65% of its assets are invested in companies whose principal operations include the production and distribution of precious metals. The precious metals fund has a five year annualized return of 12.97%.

As of February 2010, this precious metals fund held 40 issues, with 5.64% of its total assets invested in Newmont Mining Corporation.

Vanguard Precious Metals & Mining (VGPMX) invests the majority of its assets in both domestic and foreign companies whose principal operations include exploration, mining, processing, or distribution of gold and other precious metals. Up to 20% of assets may be used to directly purchase precious-metals bullion and coins. The fund returned 90.74% in the last one year period.

The precious metals fund has a minimum initial investment of $10,000 and an expense ratio of 0.27% compared to a category average of 1.56%.

To view the Zacks Rank and past performance of all precious metals funds, then click here.

About Zacks Mutual Fund Rank

By applying the Zacks Rank to mutual funds, investors can find funds that not only outpaced the market in the past but are also expected to outperform going forward. Learn more about the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank athttp://www.zacks.com/funds/mutualfund/

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