Top 12 Best Precious Metals Mutual Funds 2012

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Investing in Precious metals can be used as a hedge against economic crisis or turmoil. One of the easiest way to invest in this precious metals category is by choosing mutual funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), and closed end funds (CEFs). I’ll focus on precious metals mutual funds. The best performing funds include Tocqueville Gold, Van Eck International Investors Gold A, First Eagle Gold A, etc.

Reasons to Invest

There are several reasons to invest in precious metals funds such as:
Top Precious Metals Mutual Funds
  • The precious metals funds can provide portfolio diversification against other asset classes such as stock funds or bond funds. There is very little correlation against stocks or bonds. It may outperform other asset classes.
  • The funds can provide a hedging tool against uncertain time such as economic crisis, inflation, etc.
  • Investors can select well known management to manage their investment through various precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. It is less costly than investing in precious metals directly.
Best Funds

The following top performer funds list has been compiled by sorting through its performance for the past 5 years. Most of these precious metals equity funds are also rated among the best fund in their category. I have provided each of these top performing fund review such as its performance, sales load, expense ratio fee, initial investment requirement, risk, top sectors, rating, top holdings or top stocks, turnover rate, etc.

The Top 12 Best Precious Metals Mutual Funds of 2012 are:
  1. Tocqueville Gold (TGLDX)
  2. Van Eck Intl Investors Gold A (INIVX)
  3. First Eagle Gold A (SGGDX)
  4. USAA Precious Metals and Minerals (USAGX)
  5. Franklin Gold and Precious Metals A (FKRCX)
  6. Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals A (OPGSX)
  7. OCM Gold Investor (OCMGX)
  8. Wells Fargo Advantage Precious Metals B (EKWBX)
  9. GAMCO Gold AAA (GOLDX)
  10. Invesco Gold & Precious Metals Investor (FGLDX)
  11. Fidelity Select Gold (FSAGX)
  12. American Century Global Gold Inv (BGEIX)
Updated on 2/4/2012

Tocqueville Gold
1. Tocqueville Gold (TGLDX)

Tocqueville Gold fund seeks long term capital appreciation by investing in gold and securities of companies located throughout the world (developed and emerging markets) that are engaged in mining or processing gold. The precious metals fund has a three year annualized return of 34.03%. This fund is recognized as the MEPB Financial's Top Mutual Fund for 2012.

Douglas B. Groh and John C. Hathaway are the fund managers since 2012. This precious metals fund is rated with 4 stars rating by Morningstar. It has total net assets of $2.6 Billion. The expense ratio is 1.25%. As of January 2012, the fund top 3 holdings are: Physical Gold (6.69%), Goldcorp Inc (5.53%), and Newmont Mining Corporation (4.75%).

2. Van Eck International Investors Gold A (INIVX)

This Van Eck International Investors Gold fund typically utilizes most of its assets to purchase securities of companies principally engaged in gold-related activities, and in gold coins & bullion. This INIVX fund may invest some of its assets in gold & silver coins, and gold, silver, platinum & palladium bullion. It also may invest in other funds such mutual fund, ETF, and CEF.

As part of non-diversified fund, it has returned -26.03% over the past 1 year, 22.29% over the past 3 year and 10.58% over the past 5 year. It currently has a dividend yield of 1.64%. The fund’s lead manager is Joseph M. Foster since 1998. Investor can buy this fund with $1,000 initial funding for regular brokerage account.

3. First Eagle Gold A (SGGDX)

First Eagle Gold
First Eagle Gold fund invests the most of its assets (>80%) in gold or related instruments or in companies largely operating in the gold industry. It may also invest in unrelated sectors stocks. This precious metals mutual fund returned -15.57% in the last one year period.

This best precious metals mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $2,500. This top performer fund also has an expense ratio of 1.22% compared to a category average of 1.39%. The 3 year beta of this fund is 36.42. Morningstar has rated this fund with 5 stars rating.

4. USAA Precious Metals and Minerals (USAGX)

The investment objective of this USAA Precious Metals and Minerals fund is to provide long term capital appreciation and to protect purchasing power of capital against inflation. This stock fund invests mainly in the equity securities of domestic and foreign companies engaged in the exploration, mining, or processing of gold and other precious metals and minerals, such as silver, platinum, and diamonds.

The portfolio managers are Mark Johnson and Dan Denbow. The best 1 year returned was achieved in 2003 with 71.43%. The total net assets are $1.91 Billion and the expense ratio fee is 1.15% per year. There is no sales load.

5. Franklin Gold and Precious Metals A (FKRCX)

Franklin Gold and Precious Metals
This Franklin Gold and Precious Metals fund typically invests >80% of net assets in securities of gold and precious metals operation companies. This top performing fund is managed by Steve Land and Frederick Fromm. The annual turnover rate is 8.1%. It has a sales load of 5.75%. This equity precious metals mutual fund is rated with 3 stars rating by Morningstar.

As of January 2012, the top 5 stocks of this Franklin Templeton fund are Newcrest Mining Limited, Randgold Resources Ltd ADR, AngloGold Ashanti Limited ADR, Goldcorp Inc, and Nevsun Resources Ltd. For 2011, this fund is rank in top 79% among its peers (i.e. it is lagging its peers).

6. Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals A

Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals fund’s objective is to provide capital appreciation. This top rated fund has a dividend yield of 1.54%. It also has a sales load of 5.75%. The expense ratio fee is 1.07% per year. The fund is open to new investor. The minimum initial investment is $1,000 for brokerage account. Shanquan Li is the fund manager.

7. OCM Gold Investor (OCMGX)

OCM Gold Investor fund invests in domestic (U.S.) and foreign companies in the gold mining industry. It emphases on acquiring common stocks and may also invest in precious metals producers. The precious metals fund has a three year annualized return of 19.44%.

The precious metals mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $1,000 and an expense ratio of 1.93% compared to a category average of 1.39%. The worst 1 Year Total Return was occurred in 1997 with -37.50%.

8. Wells Fargo Advantage Precious Metals B

Morningstar has rated this Wells Fargo Advantage Precious Metals fund with 4 stars rating. This EKWBX fund is closed to new investor. The sales load is 5% and the expense ratio is 1.84%. This best performing fund has 5 top holdings including Randgold Resources Ltd ADR, Newcrest Mining Limited, Barrick Gold Corporation, Goldcorp Inc, and Kinross Gold.

9. GAMCO Gold AAA (GOLDX)

Gabelli Gold Fund
GAMCO Gold AAA fund invests most of its net assets in domestic and foreign companies which engage in gold-related activities. It may also invest in foreign securities. The precious metals fund has a ten year annualized return of 20.95%. This fund is currently known as Gabelli Gold Fund.

As of January 2012, this precious metals mutual fund held 73 issues, with 10.35% of its total assets invested in Randgold Resources Ltd ADR. The top 2 sectors are: Basic Materials (99.89%) and Energy (0.11%).

10. Invesco Gold & Precious Metals Investor

The investment objective of this Invesco Gold & Precious Metals fund is to seek long term capital growth. Andrew Lees is the fund manager since 2008. It has a dividend yield of 2.38%. The total net assets are $592 million. Investor can buy this fund initially with as little as $1,000 for their brokerage account.

Note: you can also check my old article, Top Performer Equity Precious Metals Funds of 2011.

11. Fidelity Select Gold

Fidelity Select Gold (FSAGX) fund is a non-diversified and a no load fund. The precious metals fund has a three year annualized return of 16.01%. This best performing precious metals equity fund is managed by Joe Wickwire since 2007.

12. American Century Global Gold Inv

This American Century Global Gold fund has total net assets of $1.1 Billion. It doesn’t have any sales load and it has 0% yield. The fund’s annual expense ratio is 0.69%.

Disclosure: No Position

Other Top Mutual Funds:

NoNameTicker5 Year Return %
1Tocqueville GoldTGLDX15.34
2Van Eck Intl Investors Gold AINIVX15.21
3First Eagle Gold ASGGDX14.73
4USAA Precious Metals and MineralsUSAGX14.73
5Franklin Gold and Precious Metals AFKRCX14.1
6Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals AOPGSX13.33
7OCM Gold InvestorOCMGX12.95
8Wells Fargo Advantage Precious Metals BEKWBX12.6
9GAMCO Gold AAAGOLDX12.35
10Invesco Gold & Precious Metals InvstorFGLDX12.25

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