Billionaire George Soros isn’t waiting around to see if this year’s surge in gold-mining shares will last.
Soros Fund Management LLC, which took a $263.7 million stake in Barrick Gold Corp. in the first quarter, cut its holdings in the world’s biggest producer of the metal by 94 percent in the ensuing three months, a U.S. regulatory filing showed Monday. After climbing 169 percent in the first half, its best-ever performance for the period, Barrick shares have slipped from a three-year high reached last month.
Producers got a boost after spot-gold prices had the best first half in four decades. Investors flocked to bullion and the companies that mine it as central banks around the world increased economic stimulus to support growth and the Federal Reserve kept U.S. borrowing costs low.
In the first quarter, funds including Soros bought a combined 58 million shares in Barrick, taking their total holdings to 670 million shares, according to over 4,000 filings compiled by Bloomberg.
Bullion for immediate delivery has jumped 27 percent this year, including a 25 percent surge in the first half. That delivered bigger profits for mines that have been cutting costs after prices of precious metal slumped for three straight years in the worst streak since 2000. In the second-quarter, Barrick posted its highest net income since 2013 while its stock surged 56 percent.
Barrick fell 1.2 percent to C$27.47 at 12:27 p.m. in Toronto. The shares are still up 168 percent this year. Barrick is trading at 26 times estimated earnings, in line with the average among members of the BI Global Senior Gold Valuation Peers.
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