Who's Soros Now?Published by MAC on 2010-09-20
Source: Bloomberg, Reuters, The Business Insider (2010-09-15)
The strange case of a man with two faces
He's the world's most munificent civil society "benefactor", but also one of its leading traders in gold bullion.
George Soros recently donated no less than a hundred million dollars to the leading human rights organisations, Human Rights Watch.
At the same time, he's fighting to clear his name, following a conviction for insider trading in shares in Societe Generale 20 years ago - and extraordinarily, it's the European Court of Human Rights which might do this for him.
Shortly after doubling his stake in the world's largest exchange traded fund (ETF), last week Soros announced that the current unprecedented high price of the precious metal can't last.
To confuse us all even further, he has apparently resigned as the manager of his eponymous hedge fund.
Perhaps only George Soros can see into the mind of George Soros.
But one thing is certain: those who benefit from his generosity through the Open Society Foundations customarily find themselves on the opposite side of the fence when they examine the practices of companies in which his Fund invests.
Not to mention the very trade he has promoted for much of his life.
Soros' manoeuvres make the machinations of other gold exploiters - such as Peter Munk and Robert Buchan (see More corporate donations to universities) - look like flirtations at a tea party in comparison.
[Comment by Nostromo Research, 18 September 2010].
Soros: Gold Isn't a Safe Bet Despite Record Rally
15 September 2010
Billionaire financier George Soros said on Wednesday that gold prices might continue to rise after hitting record highs this week but he renewed a warning that gold is the "ultimate bubble."
Soros said that with economic and fiscal weakness crimping the developed world all investments are at risk because "this is a period of great uncertainty, so nothing is very safe."
Soros also said that after asset classes set new highs there are almost always immediate reversals that disappoint investors. His hedge fund, Soros Fund Management LLC, has been heavily invested in gold and gold-mining companies.
"Gold is the only actual bull market currently. It just made a new high yesterday. In the present circumstances that may continue," he said at a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event.
"I called gold the ultimate bubble, which means it may go higher. But it's certainly not safe and it's not going to last forever," he said.
Soros in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, made the ultimate bubble comment. He no longer is involved in management of his hedge fund.
Spot gold on Tuesday hit a record $1,274.75 an ounce, and traded about $10 lower on Wednesday.
As of June 30, the Soros fund held 5.24 million shares of the SPDR Gold Trust, a stake worth about $650 million on Tuesday. Soros was the third-largest fund in the exchange-traded fund at the end of the second quarter.
The Soros fund also held equity holdings in miners of gold and other minerals worth almost $250 million on June 30.
Soros, one of the world's greatest investors, said he also liked steady-earning blue-chip companies that throw off lots of cash over government debt.
Among other comments, he said Soros said he saw no sign of return to strong growth in the United States, which is struggling to emerge from its worst downturn since World War II.
"If I had to sum it up in one word, I would say: 'blah.' It may slip into 'double-dip' (recession) or it may not, but it is going to slow down," he said.
"There is no question in my mind because the stimulus is running out, and there is great resistance to any further stimulus."
Soros said Japan did the right thing when it intervened in foreign exchange markets on Wednesday to bring down the value of the yen - a move that lifted the U.S. dollar as much as 3 percent.
"Certainly, they are hurting because the currency is too strong so I think they are right to intervene," Soros said.
Japan sold yen in the market for the first time since 2004 and said it would do so again to prevent the currency's rise from hurting exporters and threatening a fragile economic recovery.
"They had a real estate boom and then a crash in banking ... It's 20 years now, and they are still just struggling along," Soros said.
EU Human Rights Court Agrees To Review George Soros' Insider Trading Conviction, Days After $100 Million Gift To Human Rights Group
By Joe Weisenthal
16 September 2010
We're not saying these headlines are connected, but they are interesting, and they will provoke Soros haters.
Last week: George Soros gives $100 million to the group Human Rights Watch.
Yesterday: A European human rights court may review and expunge George Soros' 2002 insider trading conviction resulting from a trade in the late 80s in shares of Societe Generale.
The conviction only resulted in a tiny fine, so his desire to get it expunged is purely a matter of principle and pride.
Still, interesting to see an EU human rights court -- not where you'd expect an insider trading case to wind up -- provide him relief.
George Soros is the Chairman of Soros Fund Management and of The Open Society Institute.
George Soros just bought a load of gold
The Business Insider
17 February 2010
George Soros's Soros Fund Management charged into gold during the fourth quarter, doubling its stake in the world's largest gold ETF.
Note that he did this despite the fact that gold prices had already run up substantially by 4Q.
It's also despite the fact that in Davos he recently said that gold was the 'ultimate asset bubble' and that there was 'no alternative to the dollar'.
These are the actions of a true trend trader, it seems:
The $25 billion New York-based firm became the fourth- largest holder in the SPDR Gold Trust, adding 3.728 million shares valued at $421 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. Its investment was worth about $663 million, the fund's largest single investment, as of Dec. 31.