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Druckenmiller, Templeton added Barrick before earnings fizzle

A traffic sign is seen near Barrick Gold Corp.'s Veladero gold mine.

STRINGER/CHILE/REUTERS

Barrick Gold Corp. was back in favor with fund managers last quarter, before the world's biggest bullion producer reported disappointing earnings and rising costs.

Billionaire investor Stan Druckenmiller's Duquesne Family Office LLC bought 2.85 million shares in Barrick, adding the Toronto-based company to its holdings in the period ended March 31, according to a regulatory filing Monday. Templeton Global Advisors Ltd. more than tripled its stake to 18.2 million shares in the first quarter, a separate filing on May 12 showed.

Investors returned to bullion and the companies that produce it during the quarter, as they dialed back expectations for faster U.S. economic growth amid concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump's ability to push his pro-growth policies through Congress. Druckenmiller said in February he bought gold in late December and January, reversing the sale he made after the U.S. presidential election. Spot gold climbed 8.9 percent in the first quarter.

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Barrick climbed 18 per cent in the three months ended March, after losing more than a fifth of its market value in the second half of 2016 as prices of the metal fell. On April 25, shares tumbled 11 per cent, the steepest daily loss in 21 months, after the company missed analysts' estimates on first-quarter earnings and production costs rose. Barrick is down 8.5 per cent this quarter.

Current Positions

Filings released do not include hedge funds' current position, which may have changed since the first quarter. Barrick shares in April posted the biggest monthly slump since November. All-in sustaining costs in the first quarter were $772 an ounce, compared with $706 an ounce a year earlier, Barrick said April 24 in a statement. Analysts expected costs of $747, the average of six estimates.

Capital Group Companies Inc. bought 35.3 million shares in Barrick to become the miner's third-largest shareholder.

Hedge fund Adage Capital Partners GP LLC sold 7.5 million shares in Barrick in the first quarter, paring its holdings by almost two-thirds to to 4.67 million, according to a regulatory filing on May 15.

Billionaire hedge-fund manager John Paulson maintained his holding in the world's biggest exchange-traded product backed by gold in the first quarter, when bullion prices rebounded.

At the end of March, Paulson & Co. owned 4.36 million shares of SPDR Gold Shares, a U.S. government filing showed. That was the same amount as in the three months through December.

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