TSC 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.

Can you have reward without risk? No, all investments have risk. But, at least, some funds take steps to manage it.

The ING Risk Managed Natural Resources Fund ( IRR - Get Report) scored a rare two-fer: It returned 43% over three months and snagged a top rating of A-plus, or "buy."

TheStreet.com Ratings

That was accomplished with an energy and natural-resources portfolio led by Exxon Mobil ( XOM - Get Report), Chevron ( CVX - Get Report) and ConocoPhillips ( COP - Get Report). Those holdings helped the closed-end fund gain 4.9% in May.

ING Risk Managed Natural Resources Fund is one of three closed-end funds with the highest rating that doesn't invest in fixed-income securities. In all, there are 31 A-plus funds out of 638 tracked by TheStreet.com Ratings.

Any hint of economic strength increases energy prices. Crude oil futures surged to a seven-month high earlier this month as investors expected a rebound in demand after the economy bottomed out.

The second-best-rated closed-end fund, Central Gold Trust ( GTU) holds a gold bullion portfolio. Gold's rally petered out at the beginning of June. When the market for gold reverses course and turns up, keep the Central Gold Trust in mind when considering closed-end fund investments.

Movements in gold prices are also of interest to the third-highest-ranked closed-end fund, Nuveen Global Value Opportunities Fund ( JGV), as mining is the largest sector allocation. Key gold miners held include AngloGold Ashanti ( AU), Newmont Mining ( NEM) and Barrick Gold ( ABX).

Best-Rated Closed-End Funds
Fund (Ticker) Rating Tot'l Return 3 Mo Tot'l Return 1 Mo
ING Risk Managed Nat Resources Fund (IRR) A+ 43.12% 4.87%
Central Gold-Trust (GTU) A+ -12.98% 3.75%
Nuveen Global Value Opportunities (JGV) A+ 53.89% 8.70%
Dow 30 Enhanced Premium & Income Fd (DPO) A- 78.09% 7.26%
Nicholas-Applegate Eq & Con Inc Fd (NIE) B+ 43.61% 13.56%
BlackRock Real Asset Equity Trust (BCF) B+ 73.96% 11.61%
Nasdaq Premium Income & Growth Fund (QQQX) B+ 57.76% 4.60%
Eaton Vance Tax-Mgd Gbl Div Eq Inc (EXG) B+ 55.18% 14.81%
Malaysia Fund (MAY) B+ 39.13% 4.40%
Eaton Vance Tax Mgd Div Eqty Inc (ETY) B+ 37.50% 7.88%
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings, Excludes fixed income focused securities

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 TheStreet.com, 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.