Billionaire investor George Soros, who as recently as late 2011 said gold was an asset bubble, now appears quite bullish on the yellow metal and the companies that extract it from the earth. During the third quarter, Soros Fund Management LLC added to its investment in the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), the second-largest ETF in the world by assets.
The firm raised its interest in GLD to 1.3 million shares from 884,400 shares, according to an SEC filing. Even at 1.3 million shares. Soros Fund Management owns a small percentage of GLD's shares outstanding, which stood at 443.2 million as of November 14.
The filing also indicates Soros Fund Management has boosted its holdings of ETFs that own shares of gold miners. An August SEC filing showed the firm held 1 million shares of the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) and nearly 2.4 million shares of the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ).
The November filing indicates Soros has more than doubled his GDX stake to 2.32 million shares and now holds a sizable chunk of call options on the ETF as well. The firm's position in GDXJ has not changed, according to the filing.
Since mid-August, GLD has jumped 6.6 percent while GDXJ has soared 5.7 percent. GDX has risen 3.3 percent over the same time. Barrick Gold (ABX), Goldcorp (GG) and Newmont Mining (NEM) combine for a third of GDX's weight.
Soros also slightly added to his position in the SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (XME). The firm owned 350,000 shares of XME as of the August filing, but the more recent November filing indicates that stake has risen to 353,400 shares and the firm also owns call options on that ETF.
XME does hold some gold miners, but the fund is heavily allocated to coal and steel names such as Peabody Energy (BTU) and Nucor (NUE). Soros also holds a stake in the Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) as well as call options on that position.
Other ETFs that Soros Fund Management holds interests in according to the November filing include the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) and the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY). The firm also owns options on the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (EEM) and the iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund (FXI).
EEM is the second-largest emerging markets ETF by assets while FXI is the largest China fund.
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