The Gift Just Keeps On Giving: Anti-Tilson Returns 50% In Two Weeks

Tyler Durden's picture

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Comay Mierda's picture

you're going to make him cry for mommy

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

Anybody that says they can't get great trading ideas from ZH just isn't paying attention.


Only 50%? Give him two more weeks and he will probably lose all of your money. 

Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

Fifty per cent in two work weeks...

"We can only hope and pray that Whitney makes it once again all too public what his next trade will be."

There, you see ? CNBC has some worth, but one will have to employ TiVo assiduously, and sort through the chaff ( which is plentiful enough indeed ) in order to find the high-grade, soft winter Tilson wheat.

Richard Chesler's picture

If you lose 50% of your capital you need a 100% return just to make even.

Just saying...


YesWeKahn's picture

Did he promise to double your money?

J 457's picture

Missed Tilson trade, need more advice.

YesWeKahn's picture

Love to know how the inverse-paulson is doing.

Zola's picture

Spread trades like this work until you get one wrong and your fund blows up...

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Spread trades like this work until you get one wrong and your fund blows up...

Zola, your comment gets my vote for most ignorant post of the day. 



Wait a that you?

Dismal Scientist's picture

Spoken like someone who never managed money in his life. Spread trades snapping back/blowing out on fund managers have been the death of many a fund. Just ask those who got on the wrong side of the 'can't miss' Volkswagen share class trade in 2008...

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Most any trade a fund manager falls in love with and refuses to exit can do that.  Pray tell, what makes a simple long/short position different, Mr. Expert?

Dismal Scientist's picture

To my mind, not a lot. Any time you put on a pair (long/short) or a spread, you have the possibility of being wrong in both directions...

hedgeless_horseman's picture



...the possibility of being wrong in both directions

Don't forget opportunity cost, so there is many more than just two ways to be wrong.  But what do I know?  I am someone who has never managed money in my life.

Dismal Scientist's picture

On that basis, unless you pick the best trade every time possible, there is always an opportunity cost to doing anything. Fallacious argument, try again.

Tyler Durden's picture

The VOW trade only did what it did because every single hedge fund in the universe (thank you Value Investor Club, though not Tilson's) was in it, the company was well aware of this, and caused literally the biggest squeeze in history. If you jump in too late into any trade, and most certainly not only pair trades, you will be subject to the technicals of the trade more than the fundamentals.

Which is why this trade is now closed.

Dismal Scientist's picture

Thats actually not quite true, but I'll let you off for being 99% right. It wasn't me who was the 1%, btw

Ratscam's picture

one trade that is still open is long platinum short gold, if you believe the rare 0.9 ratio will go back again to its long term trend. platinum is much rarer than gold and it's catalytic industrial applications are widening

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

CB's don't hold plat.  Same argument for why I'm not in silver.  I hold money, not commodities.

mspgrandi's picture

MR Zola is right .... although this trade has performed 50% in the last 2 weeeks. only an idiot (in this case a luckly idiot ) wld have put the whole capital on such trade. hats off to ZH for calling the trade, yet am kind of sure even ZH did not play a large sum of their capital on this

Captain Benny's picture

The gifts that keep on giving: Herpes and the Anti-Tilson fund

Zola's picture

@Hedgeless_horsemann ?  what are you talking about ?? To make 50% return you need to have all your capital on the trade .... so if it goes against you , you will lose money fast...

You may think you re a smart ass but i know from experience funds that blew up because of running the wrong spread trade so i m not going to comment further on your replies...

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Poor Whitney..I mean Zola.  On what planet does commitment of capital correlate with trade type?

SheepDog-One's picture

Whitneys next trade? Does he have any money left?

Zola's picture

Your risk size will correlate to the impact the trade has on your overall returns at fund level. To have the meaningful impact presented here on the returns you will need to size it in a way that will be big enough . Also you could leverage it even MORE so that a 1% move in the spread is a 3% move in the equity of the fund but then you could blow up... FYI...

hedgeless_horseman's picture



i m not going to comment further on your replies...


                                             -Zola Tilson

Tyler Durden's picture

Yes. Or you could be up 50% if you did the opposite of Tilson.

What's your point again?

CvlDobd's picture

I agree with Zola.

IMO position sizing is THE most important part of the trade. Not blowing yourself up with a bad bet in choppy market is key. Anyone want to prove they had 100% of their capital tied up in two positions?

Yes the trade made 50% on cap invested but for your account to be up 50% you would have to put all your money there. Not prudent in these markets but that's just my opinion.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



This was a single trade recomendation...not a fucking portfolio.

CvlDobd's picture

Thanks for making the point of Zola, dismal, and myself.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



I hope for the sake of you three, and all your co-workers over at Tilson's shop, that it was just a very small trade.  Although, it sure didn't sound like it listening to Whitney on the telescreen.

CvlDobd's picture


I thought I'd get paid more than this to work at a hedge fund!

I'm a small town individual with a love for position sizing. Honestly it's my favorite topic in investing.

Slow and steady wins the race. Most trades I run I risk .5% of capital. Only my highest conviction trades will I get close to risking 1%.

That's me in a nutshell.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Only my highest conviction trades will I get close to risking 1%.

Diversity guarantees mediocrity.  Have you considered index funds?


CvlDobd's picture

I'm not sure you understand risk/reward and position sizing. I posted in the Berlusconi is resigning thread that I am shorting XLK (so yes I considered indexing). It popped right into a resistance line that has been in place all year. Given the proximity to the trend line I can run a tight stop. With the limited amount of risk to the stop I can purchase a large number of shares and put 5-8% of my portfolio to work. I said I risked 1% not invested 1%. There is a large difference! You're are really making yourself look bad to anyone that understands money management.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



You're are really making yourself look bad to anyone that understands money management.

Consider the possibility that I might understand what seems to be your take von a very common (old) approach to "money management" but I simply do not subscribe to it.  I remember when Modern Portfolio Theory was all the rage, before leverage, and then later HFT came to the fore. 

The index funds comment is meant to be an insult.  Sorry.  I will try to do better next time.

CvlDobd's picture

I gave up MPT Q1 2009


Instead of attacking everyone, perhaps try to show the flaws in conservative position sizing?

I love to learn about others' strategies and opinions.

Until I find better I'm sticking with my % position size.


hedgeless_horseman's picture



It popped right into a resistance line that has been in place all year. Given the proximity to the trend line

Maybe you haven't heard?  Technical analysis is dead.  It is buried next to Fundamental analysis.  The Central Bankers killed them both.

Welcome to Fight Club.


CvlDobd's picture

As much as I don't want to agree with you on the death of TA given my background. I kind of do. Long upper shadow on spy on Friday. Finish at the lows. 3 days later it is at 125? WTF? No TA hints to that one.

I can't abandon it as it is still my operating system. I still use it but I find myself taking fewer and fewer trades. The trades I do take still have my old ass techniques.

Good chatting with you and thanks for the fight club welcome. It's why I'm here.

Nucking Futs's picture

Depends on your definition of "dead".  TA still works fine for me.  Yeah there are these FED induced moves that can't be determined by a chart, but that's what stops are for (black swan-like events).  Some say that any of the Fibonacci Grids and Retracements don't work, some say that Elliot Wave doesn't work, and some say TA doesn't work.  To make a blanket statement that something doesn't work, just because it doesn't work for you is flat out ignorance.

SweatpantKing's picture

Tyler, one day I will listen to some of your advice and make $$$.


This trade had a lot going for it.... Green Mountain was slammed on a change in guidance  and investors over-reacted.  Then the holidays came and all the idiots maxed out their credit cards and the world was whole again.


NFLX had nothing going for it and continues to limp along and gets shakier on profit.


Great pair of trades (I imagine more went into this than just doing the opposite of Tilson, or maybe not).

Zola's picture

I have absolutely nothing to do with Tilson's and dont have much respect for him given his poor long term track record. However to suggest such returns can be had with little risk is disingenuous at fund level. Sure it was a great spread trade and i applaud Tyler for showing it. It does make a lot of sense to short overbloated and incompetent entites. However since ZH has long led the way in discussing excessive leverage and the dangers it had created i felt this was an appropriate comment to make. 

hedgeless_horseman's picture



However to suggest such returns can be had with little risk is disingenuous at fund level.

That's the way, Whitney.   If you can't beat the market, then at least you can always beat a strawman!* 

Obama teach you that rhetoric?

lairdwd's picture

Love it! Keep it coming. Ol' Whitney must look at ZH and have tears well up. LOL

gatorontheloose's picture

hey Zola a.k.a. numbnuts

It's 50% return of whatever your position is, not 50% of all your money.  you trade a pair, you half your typical one way position size and there's no additional risk.   durrrrr

gatorontheloose's picture

if you always have a fixed 1% of capital going to any one trade, do you even set your stop loss ?

if you pick a stop loss target equal to of 1% of your captial, that gives you your max position size. Sometimes that position size can use 100% of your capital, or whatever you're ready to lose if the stock goes to zero.



electricgorilla's picture

Either you followed this trade and made around 50% on your capital invested or you didn't. Not sure how things got more complicated than this.