Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK/A) completed the $44 billion purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad in February, focusing investors' attention on the transportation industry. The Department of Commerce last week said January's new orders for manufactured goods rose 1.7% and shipments climbed 0.3% over December, buoying railroads. Other railroad stocks held by the Fidelity fund include Union Pacific ( UNP), which gained 11%; CSX ( CSX), which advanced 10%; and Norfolk Southern ( NSC), which increased 9%. The three railroads represent more than 35% of the fund's assets. The third- and fifth-largest holdings, respectively, are Delta Air Lines ( DAL), up 5%; and Southwest Airlines ( LUV), up 11%. They're positioned for an uptick in corporate travel, as predicted by a survey from aviation consultant Ascend. Expanded travel budgets and more planned corporate trips by executives will benefit airline companies. The fourth-best-performing mutual fund in February, Fidelity Select Air Transportation Portfolio ( FSAIX), is a pure play on that segment of the transportation industry. The fund climbed 10% in one month. Southwest and Delta, the two top holdings, account for 28% of fund assets, with Boeing ( BA) at nearly 9%. Six of the 10-best-performing stock mutual funds in February focus heavily on metals and other commodities. None are bigger than the $2.6 billion Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals Fund ( OPGSX), which rose almost 10% during the month on large holdings of Randgold Resources ( GOLD), Barrick Gold ( ABX) and Goldcorp ( GG). Oppenheimer manager Shanquan Li makes the case for owning mining shares instead of bullion to avoid the 28% gain on the collectibles tax and to capture the inherent operating leverage of mining shares, which tend to rise and fall three times faster than the underlying metal.
His fund employs a fundamentally driven, or bottom-up, approach in selecting mining companies with excellent reserves, resources, revenue and attractive price-to-net-asset ratios to cut volatility risk. Aside from gold, Li sees copper, nickel and zinc demand coming from emerging nations, including China and India, as they build industrial infrastructure. For the best-rated mutual funds, check out our Top Rated Mutual Funds page.