Gold fund managers, burned, seek miners ready for tough times

Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:59am EST
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* Gold falls 28 pct in 2013, gold miners shares down 53 pct

* Nine out of 10 worst UK funds in 2013 focused on gold

* Randgold is among fund managers' favourite stocks

By Clara Denina and Silvia Antonioli

LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Gold stocks fund managers, who lost as much as two thirds of their clients' money in 2013, pledge they can do better this year by picking the few gold mining firms that can weather sharply lower prices.

An era of expensive expansion projects and loose financial controls has ended with the biggest annual gold price fall in 32 years in 2013. Investors expect miners to deliver on promises of cost cutting and balance sheet discipline.

Bullion prices fell by 28 percent last year, bringing an abrupt end to 12 straight years of gains. Gold mining stocks fell by 53 percent on average..

It comes as no surprise then that nine of the 10 worst-performing funds in the UK in 2013, and six out of the 10 worst in the United States made bets on gold equities.

At the top of that list is the Junior Gold fund, which lost almost 66 percent - a level that even its manager, Angelos Damaskos, describes as "eye-watering".   Continued...