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Best & Worst Mutual Funds of 2012

3 funds that delivered for investors in 2012 ... and 3 that didn't

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#3 Worst Mutual Fund: Franklin Gold and Precious Metals Fund

YTD Return: -14%

Franklin Gold and Precious Metals Fund (MUTF:FRGOX), a mid-cap focused mutual fund, normally invests at least 80% of net assets in stocks of gold and precious metals mining companies. The non-diversified fund has nearly 91% of its holdings in non-U.S. companies.

Top 3 Holdings
1. Newcrest Mining
(PINK:NCMGY): 7% of assets
2. Randgold Resources (NASDAQ:GOLD): 6.5% of assets
3. Goldcorp (NYSE:GG): 6% of holdings

Manager(s): Steve Land has been lead manager on FRGOX since April 1999.

Takeaway: FRGOX loved the Great Recession: After posting a 31% loss in 2008, its performance zoomed 68% in 2009 and 48% in 2010. Alas, it skidded back to a 25% loss last year. If you’re bullish on mining stocks for 2013, FRGOX is worth a look — but mining companies have been acting more like stocks lately, so buying into FRGOX isn’t the same thing as holding physical gold. FRGOX’s expenses are higher than I’d like; the 1% load add to the price tag.

Expense ratio front load deferred sales load min. initial investment assets under management
1.71% N/A 1% $1,000 $2.4 billion

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