By Luzi-Ann Javier
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 year through June, 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 with a market value of $4.6 billion, according to over 4,000 filings compiled by Bloomberg.
Bullion for immediate delivery has jumped 26 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.
Toronto-based Barrick, Soros’s biggest holding in the first quarter, was the investor’s biggest sale in the second quarter. The holdings in Barrick slumped by 18.35 million shares to 1.07 million shares, according to a filing released Monday.