A Top Energy Patch Mutual Fund

11/20/2012 10:45 am EST

Focus: FUNDS

Richard Young

Editor, Young's Intelligence Report

If you want exposure to the global energy patch with a natural resources kicker, and that performs year in and year out, look no further than this fund, says Richard C. Young of Intelligence Report.

The New Era Fund (PRNEX) has been a holding of mine for decades. T. Rowe Price created the fund back in 1969, giving investors access to a diversified set of global energy and resources companies.

New Era has a low expense ratio of only 0.67% and no front-end sales loads or 12b-1 marketing fees. New Era's concentration on resources also provides you with a reliable inflation hedge.

About two-thirds of the fund is invested in energy stocks, while the remaining third is invested in mining, agricultural, and diversified resources companies. Loads of research has shown commodity investments to be an effective hedge, both short- and long-term, against the effects of inflation on your portfolio. But you surely recognize this with simple common sense.

Commodities-especially energy resources-are the foundation of the modern economy. Shocks to the money supply will surely affect the prices of basic necessities like oil and agricultural commodities first.

The composition of the New Era Fund's Top Ten holdings includes a new addition to my Common Stock Monster Master List this month: Chevron (CVX), a multinational oil major. Chevron is active in the entire product life cycle of petroleum and natural gas products, including exploration and production, refining and transportation, and the production of petrochemicals.

The oldest part of Chevron was founded as Pacific Coast Oil Company in 1879. Eventually it was rolled up in the Rockefeller-owned Standard Oil Company. After being spun out of Standard Oil in the Supreme Court-ordered breakup of the monopoly in 1911, what was then known as Standard Oil Company of California started buying up smaller competitors. In 1984, the company changed its name to Chevron, the name most of its products were marketed under.

Today, about 25% of Chevron's production comes from the US, while its remaining oil and gas is produced in more than 20 foreign countries. In 2011, Chevron produced 1.8 million barrels of oil and NGLs per day and 4.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

Chevron's refineries processed 1.8 million barrels of oil per day, and the company sold 2.9 million barrels of refined products per day. Chevron has operations on every continent but Antarctica, and these operations have proven reserves of 8.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent. At current prices, that's enough oil to keep Chevron's pumps running for nearly nine years without finding any new fields.

Chevron and its affiliates own 15 oil refineries around the world. These facilities can process 1.97 million barrels of crude oil per day. Chevron also owns a global network of pipelines consisting of 12,232 miles of crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum product lines. Chevron is also part owner of a number of chemical businesses with facilities worldwide. Today Chevron yields 3.3%, and is the New Era Fund's third largest holding.

Another addition to my Common Stock Monster Master List this month is ConocoPhillips (COP). The stock is not a component of the New Era Fund, but has appeal for investors who buy individual equities in their portfolios. The yield on ConocoPhillips shares today is 4.6%.

Add T. Rowe Price New Era to your portfolio to help protect its value from the scourge of inflation. With the Fed pumping ever more money into America's economy, the risk of inflation increases every day.

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