Today we are featuring top-performing “Precious Metals” equity mutual funds, which primarily invest in equity securities companies that are involved in mining of gold and other precious metals. Investors can find such funds by checking out the entire list of the Zacks #1 Rank Precious Metals Equity Funds.

3 Precious Picks

Van Eck International Investors Gold A (INIVX) seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in common stocks of gold mining companies. The fund was incepted in January 1956.

The fund normally invests at least 80% of total assets in the gold mining industry, with at least 25% of assets invested in gold mining stocks. The fund may invest up to 100% of its assets, or, for temporary defensive purposes, less than 25% of its assets in gold stocks. Randgold Resources Limited, Goldcorp Incorporated and Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited are among its major holdings.

The fund declares and pays dividends in March, June, September and December. Capital gains, if any, are distributed in annually in December. It has an expense ratio of 1.44%.

Joseph M. Foster has been lead manager of the fund since July 1998. Foster has been with Van Eck Associates Corporation since 1996.

RiverSource Precious Metal & Mining A (INPMX) was incepted in April 1985. The investment seeks long-term growth of capital.

The fund primarily invests in securities of companies engaged in exploration, mining, processing or distribution of gold and other precious metals and related minerals. It invests at least 80% of assets in securities of companies in the precious metal industry. At least 50% of its total assets are invested in foreign securities. The fund may also invest up to 10% of its total assets in gold, diamonds, silver bullion, other precious metals and minerals.

The fund has an expense ratio of 1.52%. As of June 2009, its portfolio turnover was 340%. The fund distributes dividends and capital gains, if any, annually.

Clay L. Hoes has been lead manager of the fund since June 1999. Prior to joining RiverSource Investments, in1999, Hoes was a vice president and portfolio manager with Scudder Kemper Investments.

Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio (FSAGX) seeks capital appreciation. It was incepted in December 1985.

The fund invests at least 80% of its assets in common stocks of companies principally engaged in gold-related activities, and in gold bullion or coins. The management also invests in other precious metals, instruments whose value is linked to the price of precious metals and securities of companies that manufacture and distribute precious metal and minerals products.

Shareholders have to make a minimum initial investment of $2,500 to enter this Zacks#1 Rank (“Strong Buy”) fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.89%.

S. Joseph Wickwire has been lead manager of the fund since August 2007. Wickwire is a Chartered Financial Analyst and joined Fidelity Investments in 2007.

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