Stocks Aren't The Only Game In Town. Some Of These Sectors May Pay Off Big

Diversification has its virtues in any portfolio. But tread carefully in the months ahead. Bonds, a traditional alternative to equities, remain an essential for every portfolio in 2004. But the fixed-income market, which has rallied during the past three years, must be approached carefully. Mutual funds, which received such a bad rap recently, have been standout performers. And there are still gains to be made in 2004. The prices of high-end houses, a source of great solace in the bear market, risk losing their shine if mortgage rates move higher. With the dollar weakening, however, commodities are likely to perform strongly in 2004. And any return of inflation will give added luster to a resurgent gold market.

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