The Best, Worst Funds in May

Asian and energy funds boomed, while Russian funds tanked.
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East Asia and energy funds proved to be the places for investors to put their money during the first five months of 2007.

The table below of open-end stock fund leaders and laggards, shows a list of top performers confined to only two objectives -- non-U.S. equity and energy/natural resources.

Leveraged and "inverse" and institutional funds were excluded from the rankings. The table also shows data for the year-to-date, 12-month and three-year annual returns.

For the month of May, the top 10 stock funds contained six overseas entries, including two from China, one each from Korea and Latin America and two internationally diversified funds.

The four remaining leaders are all energy and natural resources funds, including a "green" fund -- the

(GAAEX) - Get Report

Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy Fund (GAAEX), which returned 5.6% for the month. (See

Alternative Energy Powers These Funds

.)

The top four performing funds each surpasses double-digit returns for the month, led by

(FSESX) - Get Report

Fidelity Advantage Korea Fund (FAKCX) with 12.76% and

(DPCBX)

Dreyfus Premier Greater China Fund (DPCBX) with 12.67%.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent saber rattling may have helped scare off some investors, as the top two laggards for the month were Russian funds.

The

(TMRFX)

Third Millennium Russia Fund (TMRFX) and the

(LETRX) - Get Report

ING Russia A (LETRX) lost 7.32% and 5.81% respectively during May.

The rest of the laggards list is a hodgepodge of two Japan funds, two financial funds, two gold funds, a small company fund and a growth fund.

Richard Widows is a financial analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, Widows was senior product manager for quantitative analytics at Thomson Financial. After receiving an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in California, his career included development of investment information systems at data firms, including the Lipper division of Reuters. His international experience includes assignments in the U.K. and East Asia.