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4. NUVEEN TRADEWINDS VALUE OPPORTUNITIES ( NVOAX)

Return: 18%

Assets: $2.3 billion

Manager: David Iben, since 1995

Top stocks: Cash, 15%, Newmont Mining ( NEM), 4.2%, and Barrick Gold ( ABX), 4.1%

Big winner: Arch Coal ( ACI) is the second-largest coal producer in the U.S. It makes up 1.9% of fund and has gained 37% this year.

Strategy: The fund is the most consistent performer of the group, boasting a five-year annualized return of 12%, almost double that of the next best performer. Nuveen Tradewinds Value Opportunities holds 50 stocks, and the top 10 account for a third of the portfolio. Turnover is about average at 48%.

The fund seeks long-term capital appreciation with a value orientation. Its current success comes from riding the mining wave. Its top four stocks, all with returns in the 23% to 29% range, are gold miners, except for the fifth-largest stock, Cameco ( CCO) , which mines uranium. After that, the picks are diverse. There are few losers in the portfolio, and most of those are single-digit losses. Those stocks include an international mix of companies with varying market values.

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