Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Through October 2000, one top natural resource fund performer has been State Street Research Global Resources Fund (up nearly 50% for the year), which favors exploration and energy service companies. Such companies move up and down, in sync with the price of oil. Invesco Energy Fund, with a mix of large and small companies, is up around 30%.

Other noteworthy funds include:


Oppenheimer Real Asset Fund, which tracks the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index and is largely influenced by energy prices. The fund, which has a low correlation to the stock market, lost 10% in 1997 and a further 45% in 1998 but gained 37% in 1999 and a similar amount in the first 10 months of 2000, bucking stock market trends.

Vanguard Energy Fund, a fund with assets spread across all energy sub sectors, from major international oil stocks to deep-water drillers. Not only has this fund produced top returns, relative to its risks, its expenses are the lowest in the category.

Fidelity Select Energy Services Portfolio. When oil prices rise there is more drilling and more demand for energy services so such companies shoot up in price. This fund gained 72% in 1999 and 30% in the first three quarters of 2000 but it was down 50% in 1998, when oil prices fell, so it’s extremely volatile.