Soros Fund Management made a big bet on Barrick Gold Corp. in the first quarter, scooping up a US$263.7 million stake in the miner. The fund, chaired by billionaire investor George Soros, disclosed that it now owns 19.4 million shares in Barrick, making it Soros’ largest U.S.-listed holdings and giving him a 1.7 per cent stake in the miner.
The bet on gold and Barrick has certainly been profitable. Barrick’s stock is up 138 per cent this year, making it one of the best performers on the TSX.
Barry Allan, senior mining analyst at Mackie Research Capital Corporation, said that the acquisition is part of the big move back into gold miners that has become one of the hottest rallies of the year. Many managers on Bay Street had emptied out of Barrick and other gold names over the past couple of years, leaving the companies heavily undervalued.
“They’d all gone to zero weight, it was really under owned, generally within broad-based funds,” he said.
Allan said that there had been signs that funds were getting ready to bet on gold and miners again early in the first quarter when his firm was speaking to managers in Toronto and Montreal.
“Overwhelmingly I was getting a lot of questions about Barrick — ‘is there a possibility that Thornton could fix it?’ and ‘is there a chance that they could come back?”,” he said.
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