Paulson, Soros Still Love Gold ETFs

John Paulson and George Soros remain fans of gold and shares of gold miners , according to recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Paulson’s hedge fund, Paulson & Co., for a third consecutive quarter, did not alter its stake in the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), the largest exchange traded fund, backed by physical gold. Paulson & Co. is the largest holder of GLD with 10.23 million shares as of the end of the first quarter, reports Debarati Roy for Bloomberg.

GLD is Paulson’s second-largest equity or ETF position behind Extended Stay America (NYSE: STAY). Gold has strengthened modestly this year amid escalating tensions in Eastern Europe. [Ukraine Crisis Lists Gold ETFs]

“Escalating Russian aggression towards the Ukraine is causing investors to build their holdings of defensive assets, including gold. Indeed, US long bonds, along with gold have been some of the best investments so far in 2014, highlighting investor anxiety about the potential ramifications from Russian conflict. Gold is also gaining traction as a portfolio diversifier as equity markets have displayed their sensitivity to emerging market headwinds,” according to a research note by ETF Securities.

Filing data indicate Paulson & Co. does not own a position in a gold miners ETF. However, the hedge fund has equity stakes in AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU), NovaGold Resources (NYSE: NG), Iamgold (NYSE: IAG), Gold Fields (NYSE: GFI), Agnico Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM) and Randgold Resources (NYSE: RAND).

Randgold, AngloGold Ashanti, Agnicao Eagle, Gold Fields and Iamgold combine for over 16% of the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX), the largest gold miners ETF.