Paulson comeback continues, with a surprise winner

John Paulson
David Grogan | CNBC
John Paulson

Hedge fund heavyweight John Paulson's funds generally performed well in August, beating the 3.3 percent loss by the S&P 500 in all strategies—and continuing his comeback from dismal performances in 2011 and 2012.

Among the firm's winners was the Paulson Advantage fund, which was up 1.9 percent for the month and 10 percent for the year, according to a letter sent to investors obtained by CNBC. The Paulson Advantage Plus fund also rose 2.8 percent in August and has gained 14.4 percent for the year.

Gold was at the center of the outperformance.

The funds benefited from "strong gains in the gold mining, energy and healthcare portfolios," according to the letter.

(Read more: Gold breaks above $1,400, could rally even further)

Another fund, Paulson Credit, was also up 0.2 percent in August and has returned 13.6 percent year to date. The fund "benefited from gains in the current pay portfolio which were offset by losses in the convertible debt portfolio," the statement said.

Other strong funds this year had setbacks, however.

Paulson Recovery was down 1.0 percent for the month—due to "declines in its insurance portfolio"— but is up 32.3 percent year to date.

The Paulson Enhanced fund, which uses a merger arbitrage strategy, was down 0.9 percent for August and is still up 21.8 percent in 2013.

"The Merger Funds, our largest funds, were affected by losses in its signed deals portfolio," the letter said.

(Read more: Steinway OKs Paulson buyout but market sees rival bid)

Armel Leslie, a Paulson spokesman, declined to comment.

—By CNBC's Lawrence Delevingne and Maneet Ahuja. Follow Lawrence on Twitter @ldelevingne and Maneet on Twitter @WallStManeet.