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This week the U.S. dollar reminded us that nothing ever goes straight up or straight down. The currency's value, as measured by the dollar index basket of six major currencies, fell 9.8% year-to-date through November 8. Then it bounced back by just eight-tenths of one percent.

Fear that the U.S. dollar may have set a temporary bottom spooked the gold traders, sending the yellow metal down 5.4% for the week ending Thursday November 15. Over that period, the average precious metals fund we track lost 8.47% of its value, and none were up for the week.

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Source: Bloomberg

The worst-performing precious metals fund this week is the

(PMPIX) - Get ProFunds Precious Metals Ultra Inv Report

ProFunds Precious Metals UltraSector ProFund (PMPIX), which targets 150% of the performance of the Dow Jones Precious Metals Index. The fund is having a great year, but gave back 15.92% during the week.

Losing 9.99% over the period, the

(INIVX) - Get Van Eck Intl Investors Gold A Report

Van Eck International Investors Gold Fund (INIVX) is also giving back a portion of this year's gains. Just over 68% of the fund is invested in Canada, along with 7.7% in the U.S., 5.5% in South Africa, and 4.9% Australia. One of the fund's holdings, Gammon Gold, caved in by 22.58%. The company's cost of gold rose to $764 an ounce compared to an average selling price of $679, resulting in a loss of $44.8 million, worse than the year-ago loss.

Another fund holding Gammon Gold stock, the


DWS Gold & Precious Metals Fund (SCGDX) dropped 9.91%. One of this fund's largest holdings,

Impala Platinum Holdings


, off 8.28% this week, has been suffering under a wage-related strike by 1,500 of its South African workers. A new contact may have been finalized, and the workers are expected back of the job. This can't come too soon, as Johnson Matthey PLC reported that platinum supplies are projected to fall short of demand this year by 265,000 ounces, a bullish sign.

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The exchange-traded funds tied directly to the price of gold are not impacted by the leverage and volatility of mining shares. The precious metals fund losing the least this week, off by 5.01%, is the

iShares COMEX Gold Trust

(IAU) - Get iShares Gold Trust Report

. This was closely followed by the

Streettracks Gold Trust

(GLD) - Get SPDR Gold Shares Report

, with a loss of 5.21%.

The price of silver also declined on the dollar's bounce. The

iShares Silver Trust

( ISV), which tracks this metal, sank 6.42%.

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None of the long-term, fundamental factors that weaken the U.S. dollar and support gold have gone away. In fact, the dollar resumed its slide Friday. As long as the U.S. keeps piling up debt and a fragile domestic economy makes speculators believe there are interest rate cuts on the way, the outlook for the U.S. dollar remains negative.

So, if you missed the boat on the rising tide for precious metals funds this year, now may be a good time to buy on the dip. This week's selloff provides an attractive entry point. Of course, you can still lose money if the European and Japanese central bankers convince U.S Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson that the decline is no longer "orderly" and that the dollar ought to be rescued. However, the chances of that happening are remote.

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.