John Paulson Expects More Gold Volatility Ahead
In an hour-long gathering late Wednesday morning, hedge fund manager John Paulson told investors to expect continued, short-term volatility in gold as well as further consolidation in the telecom business in the wake of a MetroPCS Communications merger with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile unit that was approved earlier in the day, according to someone who listened to the discussion.
Paulson's investor discussion, a quarterly tradition for Paulson & Co., his $18 billion fund company, was a "webinar" broadcast online that was intended to walk listeners through the year-to-date results and answer questions about strategy, said people who planned to attend.
At the gathering, the strong first-quarter performance from the Recovery Fund, which was up more than 14 percent through the end of March, and the leveraged version of the merger fund, which was up nearly 12 percent, were highlights, as were key holdings in the merger-arbitrage book such as Caesars Entertainment and Life Technologies, according to the source.
There was also some focus on Paulson's gold fund, by far its weakest performer with a first-quarter downswing of almost 28 percent.
More than a week after gold tumbled dramatically in a historic rout, Paulson's chief gold strategist, John Reade, told investors that the company would stand by its thesis that essentially that gold's price would lift as newly-printed dollars and other fiat currencies worked their way through the lending system in years to come, added the listener.
Still, Reade and Paulson acknowledged that gold would likely experience continued short-term volatility, the listener added, before growing in price over the longer term.
Paulson noted that at roughly 3 percent of total assets under management, the gold fund represented one of the smaller positions in his portfolio, but reminded investors that Paulson & Co. is up more than 50 percent since it first amassed holdings in the GLD (the exchange-traded fund it uses to put investor money into gold shares rather than dollars) and in gold mining companies, according to the source.
—Written by CNBC's Kate Kelly