* Soros Fund Management reports $8.8 bln in holdings
* Firm owned $663 mln of gold fund
* Firm buys Citigroup shares, lifts Monsanto stake (Recasts lead, adds details from filing)
BOSTON, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Billionaire investor George Soros’ hedge fund more than doubled its bet on the price of gold during the fourth quarter, a portion of the firm’s total U.S.-listed equity holdings of $8.8 billion at the end of 2009.
The New York-based firm also disclosed in a filing on Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it bought almost 95 million shares of Citigroup (C.N) during the quarter, worth $313 million by the end of the year. Soros reported no holdings of the troubled bank’s shares at the end of the third quarter.
Soros Fund Management owned 6.2 million shares of the SPDR Gold Trust, an exchange-traded fund that owns gold bullion, at the end of the year worth $663 million. That was up from 2.5 million shares at the end of the third quarter.
Soros and other noted investors like John Paulson have previously touted gold as a hedge against inflation, further economic turmoil or a decline in the value of the U.S. dollar. Last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros said “the ultimate asset bubble is gold,” but he declined to say whether he was investing in the precious metal.
The firm held 3.9 million shares of Monsanto at the end of the fourth quarter, up from 1.1 million three months earlier.
Soros also reported a stake of 7.7 million shares of Petrobras’s U.S. ADRs, worth $369 million, and a slight increase from the 7.4 million receipts held at the end of the third quarter. Soros had another 5.9 million shares of nonvoting ADRs worth $249 million, virtually unchanged from his holding three months earlier.
According to the regulatory filing, Soros Fund Management raised its holding in carmaker Ford Motor Co (F.N) to 10.9 million shares from 7.3 million shares at the end of the third quarter, when Soros started to accumulate his position.
Soros also raised his holdings of AT&T for the second straight quarter to 4.7 million shares at the end of the fourth quarter, from 4.2 million shares at the end of the third quarter.
Large investors such as Soros are required to report holdings of U.S.-listed equities at the end of each quarter, but not short positions or holdings of other securities like bonds and over-the-counter derivatives contracts. Investors are also allowed to file some holdings on confidential reports if they are trading into or out of a position at the end of a quarter. (Reporting by Aaron Pressman, Ros Krasny, Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Andre Grenon and Steve Orlofsky)