Permanent Portfolio Fund ( PRPFX) again topped the list of best-rated open-end stock mutual funds in August. The fund held the top spot despite a 2.47% dip in August.

The Permanent Portfolio continues to be a steady, consistent winner over the long run. Its targeted mix of 20% gold, 5% silver, 10% Swiss franc assets, 15% real estate and natural resources, 15% aggressive-growth stocks and 35% U.S. government debt is designed to preserve the long-term purchasing power of fund holders. With the U.S. dollar falling again, investments in gold, silver and Swiss francs are looking up, and so are the prospects for this fund.

The second best rated stock mutual fund is the 1st Source Monogram Long/Short Fund ( FMLSX), which gained 3.37% in August. This fund buys stocks like Wal-Mart ( WMT), Waste Management ( WMI), Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) and Alcoa ( AA) that it considers undervalued while it sells short stocks focused on the bank, REIT, retail and technology sectors.

The third-ranked fund, Pinnacle Value Fund ( PVFIX), is also rated A-plus. At year end, the fund was defensively positioned with 58% cash and 40% equities. Its top holdings include Argan ( AGX), MVC Capital ( MVC) and First Acceptance Corp ( FAC).

Here's a table showing a breakdown of the Ratings' take on these three funds, along with the seven other open-end mutual funds that make up the top 10.

10 Best Rated Stock Mutual Funds
Fund (Ticker) Rating Total Return 3 Year % Total Return 1 Year % Total Return 1 Month % Objective
Permanent Portfolio Fund (PRPFX) A+ 10.79 9.81 -2.47 Asset Allocation - Domestic
1st Source Monogram Long/Short (FMLSX) A+ 8.25 5.43 3.37 Asset Allocation - Domestic
Pinnacle Value Fund (PVFIX) A+ 8.42 -2.73 2.34 Growth - Domestic
J Hancock Balanced A (SVBAX) A+ 11.18 5.15 -1.00 Balanced - Domestic
Forester Value Fund (FVALX) A+ 3.38 6.56 1.22 Equity Income
BBH Core Select Fund Class N (BBTEX) A+ 8.42 2.49 2.17 Growth - Domestic
Merk Hard Currency Fund Investor (MERKX) A+ 9.05 9.14 -5.61 Sector - Financial Services
TFS Market Neutral Fund (TFSMX) A+ 13.29 12.90 -0.27 Equity Income
Greenspring Fund (GRSPX) A+ 7.60 3.72 3.53 Balanced - Domestic
Aston Montag & Caldwell Balanced N (MOBAX) A+ 5.59 3.57 0.96 Balanced - Domestic
Source: Ratings

For more information, check out an explanation of our ratings.
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.