John Paulson sat at his desk, staring at the office supplies that were all but making a mockery of him. The gold pens. The gold paper clips. The gold-plated keyboard, identical to the ones that he’d decreed everyone in the office have, too. He’d ordered them last year, along with the gold staplers, gold tape dispensers, gold paper weights. As his analysts were begging him to dump his holdings, he was directing his secretaries to get rid of everything in the office that didn’t reflect his position–nay, his feelings– for the precious metal that wasn’t nailed down to the floor. And how had gold repaid him? How had it treated his fund? By losing something like 10,000% and spitting in his face. And yet he still would not budge. Not when gold lost him hundreds of millions. Not when his friends, people who really cared about him, took him aside and said, “I’m telling you this as a friend: she’s out there making a fool of you.”
But now, as he stared at the keyboard, all he could think was how much he hated gold. He had a right mind to kick her to the curb, and that’s exactly what he was going to do. Paulson shot up out of his chair and raised his arm to sweep the keyboard, the pens, and the paper-clips into his, yes, gold-plated waste paper basket, with one cleansing motion, when a trusted adviser came bounding through the door.
“P!” he shouted. “You’re not going to believe this.”
Hedge-fund billionaire John Paulson’s big gold bet is starting to look a little shinier. Last year, Paulson refused to abandon his love of the yellow metal as it had its worst year in more than three decades. Paulson held onto to both gold miner AngloGold Ashanti — of which he is the second-largest shareholder — and the SPDR Gold Trust, a gold ETF that is the third-largest stock holding of the firm’s $21 billion portfolio, recent filings show.
That’s been good news for Paulson’s hedge funds in 2014. The $400 million Paulson Gold fund gained 18 percent through Jan. 31, according to someone familiar with the results. Two other Paulson funds invested in gold, Paulson Advantage and Paulson Advantage Plus, gained 2.2 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, in January, according to an investor report. That’s in contrast to a 3.5 percent decline in the S&P 500.