For example, money-market mutual funds can buy only issues maturing within one year.
Currently, yields on floating-rate issues with quarterly or semiannual resets are 50 to 70 basis points above money-market levels, a handsome payoff indeed.
"People were probably figuring they would park the money in money-market funds until they saw which way the economy was heading," Hart says.
No one is predicting a turnaround for precious metals this year, especially if interest rates stay and money-market yields stay low.
The central features of these savings vehicles are almost the same: minimum account size, money-market investments, check writing, credit or debit card, interest sweep and a consolidated balance statement.
For many investors, the most attractive feature of an asset management account is the "sweep." This is where all accumulated interest, dividends or proceeds from the sales of securities are swept into the selected money-market fund.
Asset management accounts let clients write checks against their money-market deposits.
The more conservative investment vehicles are usually associated with banks, like passbook savings accounts, CDs and money-market deposit accounts.
* Money-Market Funds: From double-digit returns a couple of years ago, money-market funds yields have tumbled to an average of 5.4%.