Some big-name hedge fund managers continue to stick with their positions in major gold exchange traded funds and those trades have been rewarded this year as the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) has climbed 7.1%.

John Paulson’s hedge fund, Paulson & Co., for a fourth consecutive quarter, did not alter its stake in GLD. Paulson & Co. owned 10.23 million shares of GLD at the end of the second quarter, according to a recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That makes the hedge fund the largest shareholder in the world’s largest gold ETF. [Paulson, Soros Still Love Gold ETFs]

GLD’s assets “are down 0.3 percent this year to 795.6 metric tons, after a 41 percent plunge in 2013. Holdings in global ETPs reached 1,707.9 tons on June 20, the the lowest since 2009. They tumbled 33 percent last year, helping to erase more than $73 billion from the value of the funds,” reports Debarati Roy for Bloomberg.

Global gold demand has recently dipped due to slack imports to China and India, the world’s two largest bullion consumers. However, gold’s safe-haven status has been renewed amid intensifying geopolitical tensions across the world.

“Investors bought ETFS Physical gold ETPs at the highest pace in 17 months as geopolitical risks continued to rise and Argentina approached sovereign default again. The European Union and US have increased sanctions on the Russian economy reflecting the growing animosity between the world’s super-powers. That has led to growing demand for haven assets,” said ETF Securities in a note out earlier this month.

Gold miners and the relevant ETFs are also popular with hedge fund managers. George Soros’ Soros Fund Management pared its stake in Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX) during the second quarter, but boosted its position in the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX) to over 2 million shares.

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