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Gold Fever Heats Up Precious-Metals Funds Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund ratings and commentary based on award-winning, proprietary tools. Its "safety first" approach to investing aims to reduce risk while seeking solid outperformance on a total return basis.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Investors' fears of another stock decline are stoking gold fever. The spot price of gold broke hit $997.80 an ounce on Thursday, the highest level since February.

Gold has risen 4.6% in the past week. Silver added $1.81 to $16.12 for a one-week surge of 13%. For the week ending Thursday, the average precious metals fund we track popped 7.6%.

The best-performing precious metals fund this week is the ProShares Ultra Silver (AGQ), which tracks the U.S. price of silver in London with 200% leverage. This exchange traded fund skyrocketed 27%.

The Precious Metals UltraSector ProFund (PMPIX), a mutual fund, was the No. 2 fund with a 16% gain. The fund tracks the Dow Jones Precious Metals Index with 150% leverage. It benefited from large holdings of Barrick Gold (ABX - Get Report), Goldcorp (GG - Get Report), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX - Get Report) and Newmont Mining (NEM - Get Report).

If you prefer unleveraged funds, take a look at the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), which tracks the Amex Gold Miners Index. The index's top performers of the past week included Vista Gold (VGZ), up 31%; IAMGOLD (IAG - Get Report), up 22%; Golden Star Resources (GSS - Get Report), up 21%; and Northgate Minerals (NXG) up 19%.

Best Performing Precious Metals Funds for the Week Ending Thursday Sept. 3
Fund (Ticker) Rating Fund Type 1 Wk Tot'l Return
ProShares Ultra Silver (AGQ) U ETF 27.02%
ProFunds Precious Metals UltraSector ProFund (PMPIX) E- Open-End 16.03%
PowerShares DB Silver Fund (DBS) D ETF 13.16%
ETFS Silver Trust (SIVR) U ETF 13.10%
Market Vectors - Gold Miners ETF (GDX) C- ETF 12.84%
E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Silver ETN (USV) D ETN 12.81%
iShares Silver Trust (SLV) D ETF 12.71%
American Century Global Gold Fund (BGEIX) C+ Open-End 12.17%
OCM Mutual Fund - OCM Gold Fund (OCMGX) C+ Open-End 11.94%
Midas Fund (MIDSX) E Open-End 11.89%
Source:Bloomberg & Ratings

The U.S. Dollar Index, which is down this year, has another 10% left to fall to keep pace with 2008 lows. Efforts to stimulate the economy are contributing to a weak dollar versus the euro, a trend that would help sustain gold's long-term rise.

The U.S. economy lost another 216,000 jobs in August, boosting the unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.7%, the Labor Department said today. That means stimulus efforts are likely to continue, and a new low for the dollar may trigger the spot price of gold to blast past the March 21, 2008, high of $1032.70.
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ABX $7.30 6.57%
FCX $11.83 5.81%
GSS $0.22 4.07%
GG $13.74 3.31%
IAG $1.92 6.08%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,790.19 +13.76 0.08%
S&P 500 1,979.92 -7.13 -0.36%
NASDAQ 4,748.3610 -32.9030 -0.69%

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