While other high-performing sectors seemed to run out of steam during the first half of this year, funds that invest in natural resources have continued to power on, according to USA Today.

While the average stock fund gained 3.1% in the past six months, the average natural resource fund increased 14%.

"People say [oil] stocks have had their run...yada, yada, yada," said John Senger,  manager of AIM Energy funs. His fund has gained 159% in the past five years. "But the truth of the matter is that, even though the stocks have done well, their earnings have gone up much quicker."

The stocks in those funds can continue to rise, said Senger. ExxonMobile, for example, is selling at 11 times its earnings, he noted.

Rising demand from developing countries such as China and India, and a strong worldwide economy have contributed to the run-up in natural resources.

And demand is continuing, according to the Energy Information Administration, a government agency that tracks resource consumptions, which estimated China's GDP will grow at 6.6% per year until 2015, and India's will grow by 5.5% annually.

There are some threats to their success, however. High inventories left over from a mild winter may drive gas prices down, according to Jason Kotik, assistant portfolio manager for Gartmore's Global Natural Resources Fund. Also, refineries are near capacity, he said.

"One of the biggest worries we have now is whether higher gasoline prces will crimp spending by the consumer," he said. 

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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