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.
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.