Lipper data released late Thursday shows precious metals funds were down for the week ending December 16 by about 1.3%. However, the fund group is up 39.1% for 2010 and 42.2% for the past 12 months thanks to rising metals prices.

The top performer is ProShares Ultra Silver (AGQ), which has risen nearly 150% since Jan.1. ETFS Physical Silver Shares (SIVR) is up 71%, while the Dynamic Gold & Precious Metals (DWGOX) has improved 65%.

The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners (JGDXJ) is up 58% year to date.

Gold ETFs & Funds

The ETFS Physical Gold Shares (SGOL) ETF has moved up 24.7%, as has the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD).

As for mutual funds, the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX) has moved up 50.8% and has about $2.5 billion in assets. The Midas Fund (MIDSX) is up 40.6%.

The USAA Precious Metals (USAGX), with $2.4 billion, has improved 33.3%, while US Global Investors Gold & Precious Metals (USERX) is up 33.4%.

The Van Eck International Investors Gold (INIVX), which has about $1.7 billion in assets, has a 45.9% improvement for 2010 through Dec. 16.

Gold Holdings

On Friday, Bloomberg reported that ETFs worldwide hold some 68 million ounces of gold, up 1.2%, or 809,000 ounces, this month. For the year, ETFs have boosted their gold holdings by 18.3%, or 10.5 million ounces.

The SPDR Gold Share ETF (GLD), for instance, holds some 41.8 million ounces of gold, up 16% from last year.