BlackRock’s $1.3 Billion Gold Fund Feels Pain of Miners – by Susanne Barton (Bloomberg News – April 4, 2018)

This year hasn’t been kind to precious-metal stock pickers at the world’s biggest asset manager, but their luck may be about to turn.

The $1.3 billion BlackRock Gold and General Fund lost 15 percent last quarter, its worst performance since the third quarter of 2015. Among large materials-focused equity funds, it was the second-worst performer after another BlackRock gold fund domiciled in Japan.

BlackRock wasn’t alone in suffering losses on its gold investments in the first quarter, with AMG and Franklin funds both losing more than 9 percent.

While the price of gold has edged higher this year and producer earnings are improving, investors are seeking higher returns in flashier industries such as electric-vehicle commodities, pot and cryptocurrencies at a time of rising interest rates and accelerating global growth.

“Recent relative performance of the fund has been disappointing,” Tom Holl, a money manager at BlackRock, said in an emailed response. “A contributor to this performance in 2018 has been the underperformance of the royalty companies, which the fund has some exposure to.

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