(Adds Soros Fund Management and Third Point filings)
By Sam Forgione
May 15 Top U.S. hedge fund managers had mixed
feelings about General Motors in the first quarter as the
automaker's shares fell 15.8 percent, with some increasing their
holdings and others going so far as to sell their entire stakes.
John Paulson's Paulson Management LP increased its exposure
to GM by 114.9 percent to 4 million shares and David Tepper's
Appaloosa Management boosted its GM share figure by 58.7 percent
to 7.9 million shares, regulatory filings showed on Thursday.
Not every big investor remained positive on GM. Barry
Rosenstein's Jana Partners sold nearly all of its GM stake,
cutting its holding by about 8 million shares to just 7,100
shares. And Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc
decreased its share stake in GM by 25 percent to 30 million
shares, while Leon Cooperman's Omega Advisors sold its entire
stake of 1.05 million shares.
The consumer sector was also an area of active interest in
the first quarter, with investments that included discount
retailer Dollar General Corp and drug store operator
Omega opened a new stake of 1.7 million shares in Dollar
General, while Jana increased its stake in Walgreen by 4.8
million shares to 12.1 million shares.
The quarterly disclosures of manager stock holdings, in what
are known as 13F filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission, are always intriguing for investors trying to divine
a pattern in what savvy traders are selling and buying.
But relying on the filings to develop an investment strategy
comes with some peril because the disclosures are backward
looking and come out 45 days after the end of each quarter.
Still, the filings offer a glimpse into what hedge fund
managers saw as opportunities to make money on the long side.
The filings do not disclose short positions, bets that a stock
will fall in price. As a result, the public filings do not
always present a complete picture of a manager's stock holdings.
The following are some of the hot stocks and sectors in
which hedge fund managers either took new positions or exited
from in the first quarter.
Soros Fund Management LLC increased its exposure to
Herbalife Ltd by 1.7 million shares to 4.9 million. That
made the billionaire's family office the fifth-largest holder
with 5 percent of the company.
Billionaire activist Carl Icahn increased its stake in
Herbalife by 0.2 percent to 17 million shares as of March 31.
Icahn's investment fund, which he uses to bet on stocks with his
own money and money belonging to his publicly traded Icahn
Enterprises, fell by 0.4 percent in the first three months of
the year, according to an investment presentation released by
Icahn's down quarter meant he trailed the market, with the
Standard & Poor's 500 Index returning 1.81 percent in the
first quarter. His performance was hurt by a drop in the shares
of Herbalife, which plunged by 27 percent in the first quarter.
Icahn is the biggest shareholder in Herbalife, which hedge fund
billionaire Bill Ackman calls a pyramid scheme and has shorted
in a big way.
Tiger Global Management LLC, led by Chase Coleman and Feroz
Dewan, slashed its stake in soft drink producer and distributor
Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc by 14.5 percent to 6.7 million
Tiger Global Management sold its entire stake of 9 million
shares in Yahoo Inc, while Daniel Loeb's Third Point
LLC sold its total stake of 8 million shares.
JPMORGAN CHASE & CO
Omega Advisors increased its stake in JPMorgan Chase & Co
by 1.6 million shares to 1.7 million shares in the first
quarter. The bank's shares rose 3.8 percent in the quarter,
compared with a 2.2 percent gain in the S&P financial index
, which includes all financial shares in the benchmark
S&P 500 stock index.
Jana Partners increased its stake in Groupon Inc's
class A shares by 9.8 million shares to 40.8 million class A
shares. Tiger Global Management got rid of its entire stake in
the operator of a "deal-of-the-day" website.
AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP
Third Point opened a new stake of 2.7 million shares in
American Airlines Group Inc.
Icahn raised his holdings in Apple by 2.8 million
shares to more than 7.5 million shares, increasing his bullish
bet on the iPhone maker. But Loeb's Third Point sold its entire
stake of 100,000 shares.
(Compiled by Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Lisa