Most stock mutual funds, 96.3%, rose during the third quarter of 2003, according to Weiss Ratings. Average gain was 5.24%, lower than the 16.38% of the previous quarter.

A second quarter of gains is a good sign for the economy, but investors should not read too much into it, said Melissa Gannon, vice president at Weiss. "However, investors should not throw caution to the wind because of underlying weaknesses in the economy and concerns about the extent of improper trading activities in the mutual fund industry."

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