"As you know, the environment for global macro fundamentals-based trading continues to be challenging. That factor, combined with the lack of certainty over when a recovery will take hold, led us to conclude that the time was right to return capital to you."
It has been a cruel summer, with lots of leverage, for Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square hedge fund.
In August, hedge funds blamed risk-parity funds for their dramatic underperformance. In September, the underperformance continued however this time, with risk-parity funds supposedly buying stocks, one can't blame them. To be sure, some such as Ackman whose 20 million shares of Valeant are hurting badly, will blame the Martin Shkrelis of the world for the biggest biotech tumble in years, but others may have to bite the bullet and admit it is their own lack of ability to come up with alpha in a centrally-planned "market" that is the reason.
- After Rough Quarter, Investors Buckle Up (WSJ)
- From heroes to bystanders? Central banks' growth challenge (Reuters)
- Russian Airstrike in Syria Targeted CIA-Backed Rebels, U.S. Officials Say (WSJ)
- Kremlin says Syria air strikes target list of groups, not just Islamic State (Reuters)
- That’s information warfare? Russia accused of killing civilians in Syria (RT)
- Euro zone factory growth eases in August despite modest price rises (Reuters)
- How Glencore's Crazy Month Makes Greek Banks Look Tame (BBG)
"In the Twitter-storm furor over Turing’s recent one-drug price gouge attempt, the media has overlooked the reality that Martin Shkreli was created by the system. Shkreli is merely a rogue trying to play the gambit that Valeant has perfected." And there you have it: boost the prices of dozens of drugs in the span of 1-3 years anywhere between 100% and 800% and nobody notices (thank you insurance companies). But hike the price of one drug by 5,500% and suddenly all of America thinks you are satan incarnate.
News That Matters
You can't say Nassim Taleb didn't warn you: the outspoken academic-philosopher, best known for his prediction that six sigma "fat tail", or black swan, events happen much more frequently than they should statistically (perhaps a main reason why there is no longer a market but a centrally-planned cesspool of academic intervention) just had a black swan land smack in the middle of the Universa hedge fund founded by ardent Ron Paul supporter Mark Spitznagel, and affiliated with Nassim Taleb. The result: a $1 billion payday, translating into a 20% YTD return, in a week when the VIX exploded from the teens to over 50, and which most other hedge funds would love to forget.
- Virginia TV journalists killed by suspect with 'powder keg' of anger (Reuters)
- Policeman shot to death and three women stabbed, one fatally, in Louisiana (Reuters)
- China Intervened Today to Shore Up Stocks Ahead of Military Parade (Reuters)
- Margin Calls Bite Investors, Banks (WSJ)
- "Computer glitch" is preventing dozens of mutual funds, ETFs from promptly pricing their securities (WSJ)
- Oil prices rise more than 4 percent as equities rally (Reuters)
- Oil Industry Needs Half a Trillion Dollars to Endure Price Slump (BBG)
Bill Ackman had a $1Bn shortfall to cover (allegedly) in his Pershing Square Fund.
"Hillary Clinton will propose a revamp of capital-gains taxes that would hit some short-term investors with higher rates, part of a package of measures designed to prod companies to put more emphasis on long-term growth," WSJ reports. Interested to know who might be pulling the strings behind the scenes? Read on...
Ten months after we asked whether "The SEC Is Asking These Hedge Funds Why They All Rushed Into Allergan Last Quarter?" we find that the US market regulator indeed reads this website on a regular basis. As the WSJ reports the SEC has answered our question, and yes: the SEC is finally asking not only "these" hedge funds why they all rushed into Allergan, but into every other collusive activist take out target.
- Samaras Says He’d Join Alliance to Keep Greece in Euro (BBG)
- Tensions with Warren camp could loom over Clinton campaign (Reuters)
- Ackman Report on Herbalife in China Figures in Probe (WSJ)
- Al Shabaab storms Kenyan university, 14 reported killed (Reuters)
- Iraq’s Four-Mile Line of Supertankers Fuels Shipping-Rates Surge (BBG)
- Menendez's fate could sharpen Republicans' edge in Senate (Reuters)
- IRS Chief Chides Ted Cruz Over 'Abolish the IRS' Mantra (BBG)
- Yemen Houthi fighters backed by tanks reach central Aden (Reuters)
Herbalife stock is up over 5% after hours after WSJ reports Bill Ackman (among others) made false statement about Herbalife's business models to regulators - in order to spur investigations into the company and lower its stock price. This comes just months after Ackman kinda-sorta-didn't-really insider-trade in the Allergan 'scam' that we detailed here. We suspect Whitney Tilson (and his Lumber Liquidators positions) is getting a little nervous now... and Carl Icahn is quietly laughing to himself.
Love Bill Ackman or hate him, whether or you think that his outlier "investment" of the year, one which generated nearly half of his P&L in 2014 namely the collusive hostile bid with Valeant on whose balance sheet he piggy-backed in an attempt to acquire Allergan with lots and lots of debt and whose public announcement he front-ran with even more leverage in the form of hundred of millions in call options, was more criminal than the alleged Herbalife pyramid scheme or perfectly legitimate, one thing is beyond dispute - of all the prominent hedge funds, Ackman's Pershing Square was the best performing hedge fund of 2014.
2014 was a challenging year, and perhaps for nobody more than the marquee hedge fund names of the past several years, which for the 6th year in a row underperformed the S&P 500 despite once again raking in billions in "performance" fees.