Gold mutual funds may be a golden opportunity to run with the bullion bulls

It appears that swine flu is not the only sickness going around – gold fever is also in the air. Inflation fears and a weak dollar have persuaded investors to move more money into gold, pushing the price of the precious metal above the $1,000 mark. Feverish investors have helped gold to climb to an all-time high of around $1,066 an ounce this week, and analysts are forecasting higher prices next year. Even luxury department store Harrods has gotten into the "cash for gold" business, last week agreeing to accept its exclusive clientele's cash for actual Swiss gold bars.

If you can't afford gold bars, one way to get broad exposure to gold is through mutual funds that invest in a basket of companies that are likely to benefit from the current fascination with the precious metal.