Tocqueville Hedge Fund Has Gold Fever

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Tocqueville Asset Management, a contrarian hedge-fund firm with $9.4 billion in assets, is top heavy with gold- and silver-company stocks as they make up seven of its 10 biggest holdings.

Gold is seen as a safe haven in times of market turmoil and, given the seesawing equity markets, the weaker outlook for the economy and the sovereign-debt crisis, the precious metal has gained 22% this year and is heading for an 11th straight annual gain, the longest streak since at least 1920. Gold rose to a record $1,814.95 an ounce last week and was trading at around $1,740 on Monday.

But gold-mining companies' shares, as tracked by Morningstar, are down 3% this year.

John Hathaway, Tocqueville's senior managing director, oversees the hedge fund's 933-stock portfolio. Its largest holding, at 1.8% of the portfolio and valued at $168 million, is the world's second-biggest gold producer, Newmont Mining ( NEM), which has seen its shares slide 6% this year.

Right behind it in the portfolio is Ivanhoe Mines ( IVN), at a $160 million position. The company owns mines primarily in Asia. The stock is also a favorite of Fidelity funds, which own 5.9% of its shares collectively, and Tocqueville Gold Fund ( TGLDX), a part of Tocqueville Asset Management, which has a 5.1% stake.

Ivanhoe's shares are down 9% this year, but are up 23% over the past 12 months.

The fund's fourth-largest holding is Goldcorp ( GG), at 1.3% of the portfolio and worth $118 million. It's a Canadian-based mining company with operations in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Latin America. Its shares are up 9% this year and 25% over the past 12 months. Fidelity is another big buyer of this company, with 6.6% of its outstanding shares.

The fourth-largest holding, Silver Wheaton ( SLW), is an unhedged paper proxy on silver prices. It purchases silver for sale through long-term purchase contracts from counterparties. Its shares are down 4.3% this year but up 89% over the past 12 months.

Other top-20 fund holdings related to gold mining include: Gold Resource ( GORO), Osisko Mining ( OSK), Randgold Resources ( GOLD) and Atac Resources ( ATC), according to the fund's latest 13F filing at June 30.

The only top-10 holdings that are non-gold stocks are a $126 million stake in Tocqueville International Value Fund ( TIVFX), oil-industry giant ExxonMobil ( XOM), at $99 million, and industrial conglomerate General Electric ( GE), at $91 million or just under 1% of the fund.

Five of the fund's biggest buys in the quarter were also gold stocks. The largest was New Gold ( NGD), which rose $6.6 million due to a share purchase of 4.75 million shares and price appreciation, followed by Alacer Gold ( ALIAF), Banro Corp. ( BAA) and Royal Gold ( RGLD).

The fund closed out a $34 million position in Richfield Ventures ( TSX) as it was bought by New Gold in April, and it sold out its $22 million position in Southern Union ( SUG) and Glacier Bancorp. ( GBCI).

Hedge funds that manage more than $100 million are required to disclose their equity holdings, options and convertible debt on a Form 13F filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission within 45 days of the end of a quarter. Funds aren't required to report short positions betting on declines.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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