Berkshire's Barrick Stake Pushes Up Miners Newmont, Kinross

Warren Buffett discloses a stake in Barrick Gold while the prominent investor backs away from financial services.
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Gold mining companies were climbing Monday after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway  (BRK.A) - Get Report in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing disclosed a new 1.2% stake in Barrick Gold  (GOLD) - Get Report.

Shares of the Toronto gold miner at last check were climbing 9.4% to $29.55, while Newmont Corp.  (NEM) - Get Report was up 4% to $66.40, Kinross Gold  (KGC.B)  was up 4.2% to $4.2% to $9.08, and Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM) - Get Report was up 3.4% to $81.72.

Berkshire Hathaway also exited or reduced holdings in shares of financial companies in the quarter ended July 1.

The filing showed Berkshire had acquired 16.1 million shares of Barrick Gold during the period. The stock had risen $1.94, or 7.2%, to $28.93 in after-hours trading Friday.

Berkshire exited its holdings in Goldman Sachs  (GS) - Get Report and reduced its holdings in JPMorgan Chase  (JPM) - Get Report by 60% and in Wells Fargo  (WFC) - Get Report by 26%, according to the filing.

Berkshire also exited a position in Restaurant Brands International  (QSR) - Get Report and exited its holdings in Occidental Petroleum  (OXY) - Get Report.

In addition, Berkshire added to an earlier stake in Store Capital  (STOR) - Get Report and to its holdings in Kroger Co.  (KR) - Get Report.

Gold prices were climbing Monday. They have been up about 24% this year, outperforming most stock market indexes, and topped $2,000 per ounce this month for the first time ever.

In addition to Berkshire Hathaway's disclosure, prices have also been driven by a drop in government-bond yields and the U.S. dollar, as well as concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past, Buffett has been less than enthusiastic about gold, once saying "it has no utility" and that "anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.”

Buffett's sudden interest in gold came as a surprise in financial circles. Broadcaster Max Keiser said on Twitter that "Buffett dumping banks; buying Barrick Gold is a sea-change."

"The importance cannot be overstated," Keiser wrote. "He sees global central banks have completely lost control; they’re printing trillions and Killing fiat money."