From the October 2007 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

China, Other Funds Prove Their 'Metal'

With market swings the name of the game since mid-July, there are positive year-to-date performance figures worthy of note. Equity markets in the world's developing economies were up nearly 18 percent, according to Standard & Poor's research. And emerging markets experienced more than 46 percent growth through August 31, 2007. This comes despite market declines in August of about 2 percent and 0.25 percent respectively.

As for specific mutual funds and fund groups, four funds with a China focus top Lipper's year-to-date performance report through September 6:o AIM China Fund (A);o Dreyfus Premier Greater China (A);o Nationwide China Opportunities (A); ando Matthews Asian China.

These funds' total reinvestment results are each up more than 50 percent year to date, Lipper says. Leading U.S. fixed-income funds are ahead about 6 percent to 6.59 percent. In the past 52 weeks, each of the four China funds has gained at least 96 percent.

According to Lipper, the 64 funds in its China-region category have grown an average of 81 percent in the 52-week period ended September 6; they are up 39 percent year to date. Pacific funds, excluding Japan, have increased nearly 48 percent in the last 12 months and 26 percent year to date.

On a five-year basis, China-region funds have returned more than 32 percent annually, as have emerging market funds. Latin American funds, though, have five-year returns of nearly 45 percent. T. Rowe Price's Latin America Fund has three-year annualized returns of about 58 percent.

Overall, world equity funds tracked by Lipper grew an average of 21.5 percent annually in the five-year period. ING's Russia Fund, a leader in this sector, has three- and five-year results of about 45 percent.

Natural-resource funds have a five-year annualized performance of roughly 29 percent and three-year returns of 31 percent. Gold-oriented funds have produced annualized returns of close to 24 percent in the past five years.

Leading the pack in the latter sector are U.S. Global Investor's Gold Shares Fund, up an average of 27 percent in the five-year period, and USAA's Precious Metals & Minerals Fund with 29 percent. U.S. Global's Global Resources Fund has a five-year annualized return of 44 percent.

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Janet Levaux is the managing editor of Research; reach her at jlevaux@researchmag.com.

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