While the market was topping out, Tepper was actively adding to his bullish exposure, but not in the form of many new stock positions, when in fact he partially unloaded 15 of his 38 positions, while adding 12 new positions. It was 2 of these new additions that were particularly notable: just like in early 2014, Tepper is once again back to index investing, having added a whopping $939 million in notional-equivalent SPY Calls, and $413 million in notional-equivalent QQQ Calls. In other words, Tepper is once again making a very levered beta bet that the market will resume climbing, and he can capture the upside through SPY and QQQ calls.
Before there was Tinder, which just won a student the Ira Sohn contest for best write up for its "underappreciated valuation" in IAC, there was Adult Friend Finder, aka FriendFinder networks, a website whose sole purposes was finding, to put it bluntly, a fuck buddy. Here is a quick remind what happened to Tinder's predecessor.
In what was perhaps the most uneventful Ira Sohn book-talking conference in years, some of the biggest hedge fund names came, and as expected, talked their book. There were few surprises, perhaps with the exception of David Einhorn who may have pulled an Ackman and revealed his disdain for Pioneer Natural Resources, which sent the name and the fracking sector lower if only briefly. Indicative of the broader state of the "market" Einhorn was also the only person who pitched a short.
A little over a year ago, Ocwen was the darling of hedge funds everywhere, with such luminaries as Steve Eisman pitching it at the Ira Sohn 2013 idea conference. Since then things went downhill and fast for the mortgage servicer, which after being branded "the "Next Generation Subprime Lender" by Moodys earlier in 2014, become the primary target of the NY State regulator. However, while the company's troubles with the state of New York were not life ending, as one major settlement could put everything in the past, the latest development out of the state of California may have just killed Ocwen's (whose disingenuous name comes from spelling Newco backward) business model, after the LA Times reported the state was "seelomg to suspend the mortgage license of Ocwen Financial."
Everything (all 110 slides of it) you wanted to know about the GSEs but were afraid to ask... (with Bill Ackman's biased long perspective)
From 110 slides of Ackman-inspired Fannie Mae bullishness to Tudor-Jones "Central Bank Viagra", and from Jim Grant's "Buy Gazprom because it's the worst-managed company in the world" to Jeff Gundlach's housing recovery bearishness and "never seeing 1.5 million home starts ever again"... there was a little here for every bull, dick, and harry at the Ira Sohn conference. Perhaps noted behavioral psychologist said its best though: "be careful about the quality of advice you get."
For 18 years, the Ira Sohn Conference has enabled hedge fund managers to pitch their best long (and short) ideas to the rest of the investing public. This year's speakers include Bill Ackman, David Einhorn, Jeff Gundlach, Jim Grant, and Paul Tudor Jones. Listen carefully, trade accordingly, but bear in mind the following table when judging just how masterful of the universe these guys really are...
Ackman's Year Of Living Dangerously Get Worse - The Herbalife Timeline (Audit Complete With No Material Changes)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/16/2013 16:21 -0400
UPDATE: Herbalife is halted for the following news:
- HERBALIFE COMPLETES RE-AUDIT FOR FISCAL '10 '11, '12
- HERBALIFE NO MATERIAL CHANGES TO 2010, 2011 OR 2012 FINL
Which opens the doors for the substantial buyback they have planned. We suspect one can hear a pin drop in Pershing Square's headquarters.
Herbalife has re-opened up 9% over $75 on very heavy volume - It seems Ackman's "end of the earth" bet may take a little longer...
This week marks the one-year anniversary of Bill Ackman’s 342-page slide presentation at the Ira Sohn Conference in NYC. At that time he publicly disclosed his $1 billion short bet against Herbalife (HLF), accusing the company of being a pyramid scheme and claiming its stock was destined to fall to zero once regulators stepped in. As everyone knows, HLF shares plummeted, losing nearly half their value in the three days after the presentation. The market’s initial response did not last, and HLF is up about 160% since its 12/21/12 low of $26.06 (vs S&P 500 +24%). Pershing Square’s public campaign has taken many forms, as Barclays outlines below...
For all those curious why all real money managers (and not those who spend 18 hours a day on the modern day Yahoo Finance known as Twitter, "trading" with monopoly money while selling $29.95 newsletters) are furious at what Bernanke and company are doing as shown in the most recent Ira Sohn conference, we present the chart below from Goldman which confirms what most have already known: the Federal Reserve has made hedge funds a thing of the past, whose investors are sure to keep underperforming the S&P until the moment when it all goes tumbling down.
While Paul Singer, Kyle Bass, and Stan Druckenmiller got the headlines, there were in total 14 worthwhile speakers at yesterday's Ira Sohn conference. Though many of the themes were unsurprising, it is nonetheless useful to compare your own views to those of these professional money managers, many of whom are now bludgeoned daily by the 'idiot-maker' rally... of course, that is, until they are proved 100% correct.
Today's star-studded Ira Sohn conference was led by two behemoths - Elliott's Paulk Singer and Hayman's Kyle Bass. We recently discussed in detail Paul Singer's perspective on the "most dangerous" investing environment but today he summarized and added to those comments at the Ira Sohn conference. "There is no safe haven in today's markets," he explained, "those holding long-term bonds in US, UK, and Japan own assets that are trading at the wrong price," and went on with more brutal honesty, QE causes a distorted recovery - financiers doing well, ordinary person not experiencing recovery. Kyle Bass also stuck to the script noting that in Japan "mindsets are changing - the beginning of the end has begun," and exclaiming in his subtle and forthright manner, "you have to be shitting me, you're adding a ponzi scheme to a ponzi scheme." We leave the summation up to Singer, "the ultimate question for a fiat money regime is at what point does confidence in money disappear?"
The overnight economic data dump started in China, where both exports and imports rose more than expected, at 14.7% and 16.8% respectively, on expectations of a 9.2% and 13% rise. The result was a trade surplus of $18.16 billion versus expectations of $16.15 billion. The only problem with the data is that as always, but especially in the past few months, it continued to be completely made up as SocGen analysts, and others, pointed out. The good data continued into the European trading session, where moments ago German Industrial Production rose 1.2% despite expectations of a -0.1% drop, up from 0.6% and the best print since March 2012. The followed yesterday's better than expected factory orders data, which also came at the best level since October. Whether this data too was made up, remains unknown, but it is clear that Germany will do everything it can to telegraph its economic contraction is not accelerating. It also means that any concerns of an imminent ECB rate cut, or a negative deposit rate, are likely overblown for the time being, as reflected in the kneejerk jump in the EURUSD higher.
When Mary Meeker, formerly of pre-IPO bubble analyst fame, released her "USA, Inc." presentation last year, which assayed the US government as if it were a corporation, her conclusion was simple: the country is broke, and can not continue along the path it is on now. Fast forward to today, when the US debt balance is over $1 trillion higher, and the next edition of Mary Meeker's presentation which she released at last week's Ira Sohn conference. Her conclusion: the US is now broke-er than ever.
Now that the Ira Sohn conference has become a worthless hypefest, in which everyone and their kitchen sink is invited in a desperate attempt by hedge funds to offload positions put on ages ago to witless alphaclone chasers, the real "idea dinners" are few and far between. One such remaining one, which unlike others does not seek to publicize its positions to every retail investor, is that held by Monness Crespi, in which very select hedge funds are invited. Below we summarize the stock picks from last night's dinner. We are not at all surprised to find FaceBook already making enemies.