(Rewrites, adds details from filings, market background)
By Marcy Nicholson
NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Soros Fund Management LLC got out of gold in the fourth quarter of 2016 while Paulson & Co reduced its stake in SPDR Gold Trust, as bullion prices saw their weakest quarterly performance in 3-1/2 years, regulatory filings showed on Tuesday.
The firm that invests the personal fortune of billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros eliminated its shares in Barrick Gold Corp in the October to December period, the fund’s last remaining stake in bullion after dissolving its shares in the world’s biggest gold exchange-traded fund SPDR Gold Trust in the previous quarter.
New York-based Paulson & Co, led by longtime gold bull John Paulson, cut its stake in SPDR Gold Trust to 4.4 million shares, worth $478 million, from 4.8 million shares, worth $600 million, at the end of the third quarter, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Spot gold prices fell to a 10-1/2-month low at $1,122.35 an ounce in December, following the U.S. presidential election and after the U.S. Federal Reserve sounded an unexpectedly hawkish note on U.S. interest rates.
Paulson held stakes unchanged in AngloGold Ashanti Ltd , IAMGold Corp and RandGold Resources Ltd , but reduced them in NovaGold Resources Inc, the filings showed.
In the fourth quarter, spot gold prices dropped 12.5 percent, their biggest quarterly tumble in 3-1/2 years. Prices rallied briefly after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election in early November, but then fell.
By early February, prices reached a three-month high as attention shifted to worries over Trump’s policies and political risks posed by elections in Europe.
Earlier this month CI Investments Inc, an investment manager of Toronto-based CI Financial Corp, reported that it also cut shares in SPDR Gold Trust and dissolved shares in Barrick Gold, though it held onto some of its shares of option calls in the miner. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Alan Crosby and Bill Rigby)