Paulson & Co. founder John Paulson is the single most successful hedge fund investor to capitalize off of the 2007 U.S. mortgage crisis and subsequent recession, rising to the ranks of Warren Buffet and George Soros in just a few years' time.

By shorting subprime securities, he first became a billionaire, with Paulson & Co. earning $3.5 billion in 2007. In 2010, he bested himself by personally earning $5 billion (an entirely new record)‚ about $1 billion was in compensation, and about $4 billion was from investing his own money into Paulson & Co. The 2010 gains were from shorting troubled European banks, investments in Citigroup, and significant holdings in gold.

Paulson is now the "Bear Market Billionaire," and his outlook has not changed. Paulson & Co.'s assets of $36 billion is over a third invested in gold -- Paulson has publicly predicted double-digit U.S. inflation in 2012 and a target price for gold between $2,400 and $4,000 (it's currently trading around $1,500 an ounce).

Paulson & Co. uses merger arbitrage, long/short, and event-driven strategies, employing fundamental analysis with the S&P500 as its benchmark.

For a closer look at Paulson & Co., we used the company's 13f fillings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to find the fund's five largest holdings and their five biggest holding increases as of March 31, 2011. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

5 Largest Holdings:

1. SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE: GLD): Exchange Traded Fund Industry. Market cap of $60.22B. As of 3/31/11, the company held 31,500,000 shares, with a market value of $4.41B and a portfolio weight of 13.43%. The stock has gained 26.55% over the last year.

2. AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU): Gold Industry. Market cap of $15.72B. As of 3/31/11, the company held 41,046,974 shares, with a market value of $1.97B and a portfolio weight of 6%. The stock has gained 3.74% over the last year.

3. Transocean (NYSE: RIG): Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration Industry. Market cap of $20.86B. As of 3/31/11, the company held 24,467,500 shares, with a market value of $1.91B and a portfolio weight of 5.82%. The stock has gained 49.23% over the last year.

4. Citigroup (NYSE: C): Money Center Banks Industry. Market cap of $110.31B. As of 3/31/11, the company held 412,722,200 shares, with a market value of $1.82B and a portfolio weight of 5.56%. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 5.6% over the last week.

5. Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC): Independent Oil & Gas Industry. Market cap of $37.15B. As of 3/31/11, the company held 21,233,885 shares, with a market value of $1.74B and a portfolio weight of 5.3%. The stock has gained 91.76% over the last year.

5 Largest Holding Increases:

1. Boise (NYSE: BZ): Paper & Paper Products Industry. Market cap of $651.80M. Between 12/31/10 and 3/31/11, Paulson & Co. increased its share holdings by 656.07% (from 1.06M shares to 8M shares, with a portfolio weight of 0.22%). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 10.69%.

2. International Paper Co. (NYSE: IP): Paper & Paper Products Industry. Market cap of $12.78B. Between 12/31/10 and 3/31/11, Paulson & Co. increased its share holdings by 290.88% (from 2.56M shares to 10M shares, with a portfolio weight of 0.92%).

3. XL Group (NYSE: XL): Property & Casualty Insurance Industry. Market cap of $6.57B. Between 12/31/10 and 3/31/11, Paulson & Co. increased its share holdings by 242.84% (from 8.58M shares to 29.40M shares, with a portfolio weight of 2.21%).

4. Transocean: Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration Industry. Market cap of $20.86B. Between 12/31/10 and 3/31/11, Paulson & Co. increased its share holdings by 239.83% (from 7.20M shares to 24.47M shares, with a portfolio weight of 5.82%).

5. Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX): Gold Industry. Market cap of $44.37B. Between 12/31/10 and 3/31/11, Paulson & Co. increased its share holdings by 125.00% (from 400K shares to 900K shares, with a portfolio weight of 0.14%).

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.


Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen does not own any of the shares mentioned above.

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