A quote often attributed to legendary investor Warren Buffett is that gold “gets dug out of the ground in Africa… Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.”
Even if Buffett never actually said that, it’s well known among long-time gold investors that the Berkshire Hathaway chief has been opposed to investing in the yellow metal. The primary reason? It doesn’t pay a dividend.
And do you know what else has never paid a dividend? Berkshire Hathaway.
Leaving aside the fact that gold does indeed have a variety of utilities, from jewelry to electronics to dentistry and medicine—not to mention currency—the metal’s per-ounce price has outpaced Class A shares of Berkshire so far this century, as of August 17.
That’s why Buffett’s flip-flop on gold sent shockwaves throughout financial markets. After Friday’s close, Berkshire unexpectedly announced that, as of the end of the second quarter, it held a $565 million position in Barrick Gold, the world’s second largest producer of the metal.
Shares of Barrick jumped nearly 12 percent at the market open on Monday and closed above $30 for the first time since February 2013.