UPDATE 3-Soros favored gold, slashed big U.S. equities

* SPDR Gold Trust top holding at end of second quarter

* Sold almost all Hess, Suncor Energy and Verizon

* Slashed other blue chips including Pfizer, Wal-Mart

* May have sold Petrobras holdings
(Adds further sales, recasts first paragraph)

By Aaron Pressman

BOSTON, Aug 16 (BestGrowthStock) – Billionaire investor George
Soros in the second quarter stuck with his big bet on gold but
slashed his holdings in dozens of major U.S. companies from
Verizon Communications to Pfizer.

Soros also may have sold his entire holdings in Petroleo
Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA: ) (PBR.N: ).

In a quarterly securities filing on Monday, Soros Fund
Management reported owning substantially fewer U.S. listed
stocks than three months earlier. The fund listed $5.1 billion
of equities as of June 30, down 42 percent from $8.8 billion at
the end of March.

After a terrible quarter for the stock market that saw the
Standard & Poor’s 500 Index plunge 12 percent, Soros may have
been anticipating further turbulence ahead.

Top holdings from the first quarter including energy
producers Hess Corp (HES.N: ) and Suncor Energy (SU.TO: ) and
telecommunications giant Verizon were slashed. At the end of
the second quarter he had $1.5 million worth of Hess, down from
$302.5 million, $13.6 million of Suncor, down from $285.3
million and $395,000 worth of Verizon (VZ.N: ), down from $175.1
million.

The firm also cut back on drugmaker Pfizer (PFE.N: ), with
holdings worth $4.7 million down from $91.4 million, banking
company, JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N: ), cut to $3.9 million from
$114.9 million, and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT.N: ), down to $673,000
from $72.9 million.

Soros does not typically explain his quarter-to-quarter
moves. A spokesman for the firm declined to comment.

GOLD MOVES TO TOP

The fund firm said it owned 5.24 million shares of the SPDR
Gold Trust (GLD.P: ) worth $638 million as of June 30. Though
down slightly from the fund’s 5.59 million shares owned at the
end of the first quarter, that was the fund’s biggest holding
by dollar value.

With the sale of so many other holdings, the Gold ETF
constituted almost 13 percent of the firm’s total equities, up
from 7 percent at the end of the first quarter.

Much of the rest of the top holdings at the firm at the end
of the second quarter were convertible bonds from high
technology companies like RF Micro Devices (RFMD.O: ) and Epicor
Software (EPIC.O: ), To see a table of the firm’s top 10
holdings, click on [ID:nN16259792].

There was no sign in the filing of Soros’s largest holding
from the first quarter, Brazilian oil giant Petrobras. The fund
owned almost 15 million shares in two classes of stock as of
March 31.

That usually signals a total sale of the position but money
managers can leave stocks out of their quarterly reports or
seek confidential treatment if they are actively trading in the
shares.

The disappearance of Petrobras from the Soros filing comes
as the state-owned oil producer has wrestled with a huge
capital raising plan that also includes buying rights to
billions of barrels of offshore oil from the government. In
June, the company delayed the planned share sale and oil swap
from July until September.

Money managers like Soros are required to file form 13-F
within 45 days after the end of each quarter. The forms include
only U.S.-listed equity securities and related derivatives.
Bonds, other securities and short positions are typically not
disclosed.
(Reporting by Aaron Pressman; editing by Carol Bishopric)

UPDATE 3-Soros favored gold, slashed big U.S. equities