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MONEY SMALL INVESTOR INDEX: SMALL INVESTORS GO GAGA OVER GOLD

 /ADVANCE/ NEW YORK, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Excited by 20 percent- plus gains in gold-mining shares, small investors are pouring four times as much money into gold mutual funds as they did earlier in the year, according to data gathered for Money magazine's Small Investor Index.
 Since Jan. 1, the Index's gold category has soared 16 percent, vs. 2.6 percent for the rest of the portfolio, powered mostly by rocketing mining shares, which are up 31 percent. South African mining shares have risen by an even greater 56 percent, despite bloody rioting in that country. The reason: by slashing labor costs, South African mines boosted their profits 25 percent during the second half of 1992, and analysts estimate that earnings continued to rise in the first quarter of '93.
 As a result, gold funds have attracted a net $317 million of fresh cash since March 1, four times the $68 million the funds took in during the previous six weeks, according to AMG Data Services of Arcata, Calif. For example, net sales of the Fidelity Select Precious Metals Fund, which has assets of $203 million, totaled $56 million over the past six weeks, vs. $6 million for the prior period.
 Many analysts are concerned that highly volatile gold shares have risen too far, too fast. "At today's prices, gold stocks are discounting a rise in gold prices from $340 to around $380, which I think is very unlikely," says senior metals analyst Bernard Savaiko at Paine Webber in New York City. He adds, "With inflation under control, I think gold prices could fall to $300 by the end of the year, which could make these shares drop 30 percent," he says.
 Last week, the Index, which tracks the typical small investor's holdings, rose $315 to $47,476. Stocks gained $226, while bonds added $82. Certificates of deposit and money-market funds contributed $10.
 This Last Year % Change from a
 Week Week Ago Week Ago Year Ago
 102.67 101.99 94.69 +0.67% +8.46%
 Latest Changes for Each Asset
 % Change from a
 Category Index Week Ago Year Ago
 Stocks:
 NYSE 103.69 +1.49% +10.99%
 ASE/OTC 99.02 +0.60 +13.27
 Equity funds 103.12 +1.29 +9.49
 Bonds:
 Taxable bonds 105.07 +0.54 +12.93
 Municipals 105.47 +1.34 +12.69
 Bond funds 104.73 +0.39 +10.84
 Cash
 CDs 101.04 +0.07 +3.89
 Money funds 100.73 +0.05 +2.84
 Other
 Real estate 103.15 +0.21 -1.36
 Gold 116.03 -1.75 +8.42
 Jan. 1, 1993 equals 100
 Where Average Small Investors Have Their Money Now
 Current Year Ago Current Year Ago
 NYSE 23.38% 22.43% Bond funds 6.82% 5.61%
 ASE/OTC 7.38 7.08 CDs 13.54 16.72
 Equity funds 6.70 5.43 Money funds 24.09 24.00
 Taxable bonds 9.48 10.05 Real estate 0.80 0.77
 Municipals 7.28 7.40 Gold 0.52 0.51
 Sources: Bank Rate Monitor, the Federal Reserve, Investment Company Institute, Lehman Bros., Lipper Analytical Services, Merrill Lynch, Money Fund Report, Morgan Stanley Capital International, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Prudential Asset Management, Standard & Poor's, Robert Stanger & Co., World Gold Council.
 -0- 4/19/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: This material is also available in printable form from AP GraphicsNet and Access services for graphics and tables (under the file name MoneyIndex) and from PR Newswire for full text./
 /CONTACT: Jordan Goodman of MONEY, 212-522-3618, or Patti Straus of MONEY public relations, 212-522-2695/


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Date:Apr 16, 1993
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