Harvard Joins Gold Rush

Endowments have joined hedge funds in buying gold and silver stocks, attracted to some of the same producers. Whether these big buyers will hold long-term or bail out in expectation of a correction in booming precious metals is a key question for market participants.

Thus Harvard University went for Gold Fields Ltd. and Anglogold Ashanti Ltd., both names in the portfolio of John Paulson’s Paulson & Co., which manages a gold hedge fund among other strategies.

Another Harvard buy is Harmony Gold, the fifth largest producer in the world with mines in South Africa and Papua New Guinea. Harmony chief executive Graham Briggs says their production target is 2 million ounces of gold by 2013.

In addition, Harvard held an exchange-traded fund, Market Vectors’ Gold Miners ETF, which  tracks the Amex Gold Miners Index. The endowment’s portfolio also contains other commodity investments such as the iShares S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index.

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