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Ratings: Energy & Natural Resource Funds

On Friday, March 23, Iran captured 15 members of the British Navy and their two boats in Iraqi waters. In the best-case scenario, the sailors get released, and the incident stiffens the resolve of the U.N. Security council to apply sanctions against Iran for its defiance of two U.N. resolutions to stop uranium enrichment. Real sanctions may induce Iran to restrict the oil supply sending prices higher.

In the worst-case scenario, Iran's hostage taking escalates into yet another Mideast military conflict for America and its allies, blocking virtually all crude oil shipments out of the Persian Gulf. The price of a barrel of oil is predicted to easily surpass $100 or more if the worst happens.

At those prices, alternative energy sources, such as solar power, become economically viable. Either way, funds holding domestic or non-Persian Gulf energy companies may continue to do well in this environment.

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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