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The Best Mutual Funds for a Jittery Market

Every month, Ratings ranks a huge list of open-end stock mutual funds based on our proprietary risk-adjusted return model. Sometimes the funds that steadily outpace all the others can be quite revealing.

As of Jan. 31, the top-rated open-end stock fund this month is the Permanent Portfolio Fund (PRPFX). The fund's stated objective is to preserve long-term purchasing power with a portfolio of gold, silver and Swiss francs as well as natural resource companies.

This is just the type of portfolio you would expect to do well in these jittery times. Below are the other funds making our top-10 list.

The second-place fund, Ivy Asset Strategy Fund (WASAX), hit the right mix of sectors with 11.3% mining, 10.9% diversified financial services, 9.4% telecommunications, 5/9% oil and gas, 5.4% alternative energy sources and 4.4% agriculture.

This past year was the right time to be long a global portfolio of fund holdings such as Monsanto (MON) up 120.43%, Rio Tinto (RTP) up 103.59%, Nintendo (NTDOY) up 69.13%, Transocean (RIG) up 68.41% and Sunpower (SPWR) up 48.85%.

The PIMCO All Asset All Authority A Fund (PAUAX) is included in the list of stock funds, even though it has only about one-third of 1% invested directly in equities, because it's a fund of PIMCO funds, some of which are PIMCO StockPlus funds that track various international equity indices with the use of derivative securities.

Finally, it is notable that a contrarian fund such as the Prudent Bear Fund (BEARX) managed to climb into the top 10 by selling short equities securities.

The fund does bet on some stocks going up, mostly Canadian mining shares. Over the last 12 months, holdings such as Canplats Resources (CPQRF) soared 614%, Duran Ventures (DUVNF) leaped 391% and East Asia Minerals (EAIAF) popped 292%.

Fund (Ticker) Rating Total Return 3 Year Total Return 1 Year Total Return 1 Month Investment Objective
Permanent Portfolio Fund (PRPFX) A+ 13.09% 13.53% 2.64% Asset Allocation - Domestic
Ivy Fund-Asset Strategy A (WASAX) A+ 26.80% 35.86% -2.41% Asset Allocation - Domestic
Pinnacle Value Fund (PVFIX) A+ 11.34% 8.16% -2.70% Growth - Domestic
J Hancock Balanced A (SVBAX) A+ 16.15% 18.24% -3.00% Balanced - Domestic
PIMCO All Asset All Authority A (PAUAX) A+ 7.34% 13.19% 3.10% Asset Allocation - Domestic
BB&T Equity Income A (BAEIX) A+ 13.58% 4.92% -2.07% Equity Income
Prudent Bear Fd (BEARX) A+ 9.07% 17.78% 2.39% Growth - Domestic
BlackRock Glb Allocation Inv A (MDLOX) A+ 14.12% 14.14% -1.72% Asset Allocation - Global
Fidelity Adv Consumer Staples A (FDAGX) A+ 12.91% 10.73% -6.00% Growth - Domestic
AllianceBern Utility Income A (AUIAX) A+ 18.30% 13.89% -5.72% Sector Fund - Utility

Source: Ratings - Jan. 31, 2008 Data.
Read this for an explanation of our ratings, click here .

Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by, 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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