Commodities, particularly precious metals funds, have been big sellers in recent months, but their good fortune reversed in January, when seven of the worst-performing mutual funds turned out to be concentrated on mining stocks.

As the economy continues to show signs of improvement, the rush to gold and other precious metals as a defense play appears to be waning, TheStreet.com reports. The price of gold per ounce is now $1,060, down from a high of $1,217 in December.

The Rydex Series Precious Metals Fund fell 13%, bringing down its gains over the past 12 months to 29%. The GAMCO Gold Fund fell 12%, as did the Guinness Atkinson Funds Alternative Energy Fund.

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