In Precious Metals, Precious Little To Cheer About

Gold bugs have had a tough go of it lately. For a time, the specter of stronger global economies and looming inflation suggested a return to glittery prices. Instead, it's the big chill. After flirting with $400 an ounce in September, gold prices slid back to $376 by mid-December. Precious-metals mutual funds also slumped. The funds got hammered in November, posting negative returns of 16% so far this year, according to Morningstar Inc.

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