(Adds Soros, CI Investments, gold price, market background, 13F background)
By Renita D. Young
NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - New York-based Paulson & Co, led by longtime gold bull John Paulson, kept its stake in gold investments during the fourth quarter of 2017, while other heavyweights including Soros Fund Management LLC, Jana Partners LLC and Caxton Corp all remained unexposed to the metal.
The timing for Paulson appeared prescient given that during the last three months of the year, gold prices climbed on the back of a weak U.S. dollar, geopolitical tension and mixed expectations of the path of U.S. interest rate increases.
Paulson & Co kept its stake in SPDR Gold Trust at 4.36 million shares during the fourth quarter of 2017, though the value rose to $539.1 million, up from $530 million in the third quarter, a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed on Wednesday.
SPDR Gold Trust is the world’s biggest gold exchange-traded fund.
Paulson also left stakes unchanged in mining company AngloGold Ashanti Ltd though the value increased versus the end of the third quarter.
Stakes in IAMGOLD Corp, RandGold Resources Ltd and NovaGold Resources Inc were also unchanged, but their value dropped.
During the fourth quarter of 2017, spot gold prices rose to a three-month high of $1,307.60 per ounce in late December.
Bullion had jumped toward its biggest one-year rise in seven years because of the weakening dollar. Sliding toward its worst year since 2003, the greenback, in which gold is priced, was hurt by tensions over North Korea, the Russian scandal surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign, and persistently low U.S. inflation.
Concerns had begun to recede over the impact of U.S. interest rate hikes and fed into its rally. Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, because higher rates make it less attractive since it does not draw interest.
Meanwhile, CI Investments Inc sharply increased its holdings in SPDR Gold Trust to nearly 3.9 million shares worth $482.1 million during the fourth quarter, up nearly three times from its 1.45 million shares worth $176.2 million during the third quarter.
It doubled its stake in Barrick Gold Corp to 312,762 shares worth $4.53 million, and increased its call options to 183,396 shares worth $6.78 million. This compares with 166,396 calls worth $6.8 million in the third quarter.
CI Investments increased its holdings in Randgold Resources Ltd to 132,810 shares at a value of $13.13 million during the fourth quarter, up sharply from the third quarter’s 22,210 shares at a value of $2.17 million. (Reporting by Renita D. Young; Editing by Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman)