NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Hedge fund Paulson & Co maintained its stake in the world’s biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, in the fourth quarter, even as others exited when bullion prices posted their biggest annual loss in 32 years.
Some notable institutional investors, including PIMCO, continued to cut their gold ETF holdings, sparking fears that the exodus in gold led by funds will continue as the Federal Reserve began to trim its monetary stimulus amid a better economic outlook.
New York-based Paulson & Co, led by longtime gold bull John Paulson, owned 10.2 million shares in the ETF worth $1.19 billion on Dec. 31, unchanged from its holdings on Sept. 30, a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission showed on Friday.
That represents a loss of $123 million as the price of gold tumbled in the fourth quarter.
In the second quarter, Paulson slashed its stake by more than half when bullion prices plummeted $225 between April 11 and 15, a record two-day drop for gold.
Investors pay close attention to the quarterly filings by Paulson and other notable hedge fund managers because they provide the best insight into whether the so-called “smart money” has lost faith in gold as a hedge against inflation and economic uncertainty. (Reporting by Frank Tang; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)