Wait till these massive hedge funds start requesting physical delivery of their gold (and soon silver) holdings as counter-party confidence collapses further. That’s when the musical chairs rehypothecation game will get interesting.
Billionaire John Paulson raised his stake in an exchange-traded fund tracking the price of gold while selling other stocks during the second quarter, leaving his $21 billion hedge fund with more than 44 percent of its U.S. traded equities tied to bullion.
Paulson & Co. purchased an additional 4.53 million shares of the SPDR Gold Trust, the firm’s largest position, and bought more shares of NovaGold Resources Inc. (NG), according to a Form 13F filed yesterday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Gold prices posted their biggest declines since 2008 last quarter.
While Paulson trimmed his stake in AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (ANG)and Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI), sales of energy, financial and auto-parts stocks boosted the relative weighting of gold-related securities in his U.S. stock portfolio to the highest in three years. That’s making the fund more vulnerable to declines in the price of bullion as the hedge-fund manager struggles to reverse record losses last year.
Paulson, 56, has lost 23 percent so far this year in his Gold Fund and 18 percent in the Advantage Plus Fund, in part because of wrong-way bets on mining companies. Advantage Plus, which seeks to profit from corporate events such as takeovers and bankruptcies and uses leverage to amplify returns, declined 51 percent last year….