This Week in Billionaires: Sprott Likes Oil, Rough Week for Paulson (SNOFF, AU, GLD, AIG, BK, WFC, GOOG, WSC, BRK.A, BRK.B)
The week started with a highly touted money manager giving his opinion on what will work in these markets going forward. On Monday, Sprott Asset Management’s Eric Nuttall said that he would buy oil stocks, but avoid equities that are plays on natural gas and uranium. Sprott’s $169 million energy and natural resources fund is bullish on oil, but cannot say the same of its feelings toward natural gas and uranium stocks. To see Sprott Asset Management’s top, U.S.-listed, equity holdings, visit tickerspy.com.
John Paulson had a rough week. As of April 29, legendary hedge fund manager John Paulson held 34.7 million shares of now-infamous Canadian-Chinese timber firm Sino-Forest Corporation (SNOFF). As of June 17, Paulson’s firm owned no shares of the downtrodden stock, which has been smashed this month following a report by research firm Muddy Waters LLC that said Sino-Forest overstated its timber holdings. To make matters worse, Paulson’s gold-related holdings, Anglogold (AU) and SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) have struggled. Paulson’s gold fund had been one of the top-performing funds for the $38 billion firm this year, but the fund gained a scant 2% in May and has struggled this month, the Wall Street Journal reported. To see Paulson & Co.’s top, U.S.-listed, equity holdings, visit tickerspy.com.
Paulson was not the only one in the news about Sino Forest. The controversy captured another victim, noted value investor Christopher Davis owned 13% of Sino-Forest as of April 29, according to Bloomberg News. The value of that stake has plunged 92%, or $600 million, Bloomberg reported. Last year, Davis took a big hit on a 2008 investment in American International Group (AIG), the insurance giant that was one of the biggest recipients of government aid during the financial crisis. The firm has also been hampered this year by the slack performance of its financial services holdings such as Bank of New York Mellon (BK) and Wells Fargo (WFC). To see Davis Select Advisers top, U.S.-listed, equity holdings, visit tickerspy.com.
Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates is getting a bit bigger. Actually, a lot bigger as the firm is nearly done launching a new $10 billion fund, which the Wall Street Journal reported is one of the largest new funds ever. The firm’s stellar reputation was bolstered by the fact that it actually generated positive returns in 2008 when the average hedge fund lost 19%, the Journal noted. To see Bridgewater Associates top, U.S.-listed, equity holdings, visit tickerspy.com.
George Soros and Google (GOOG), the largest U.S. provider of Internet search services, invested $25 million in Transphorm, a California-based company specializing in energy waste reduction technology. The company has raised $63 million since 2007, according to Bloomberg News in a story filed on Thursday. To see Soros Fund Management’s top, U.S.-listed, equity holdings, visit tickerspy.com.
Warren Buffett made some investors uneasy this week with his announcement regarding Wesco Financial (WSC). Investors are likely to lose a cost-effective way of getting exposure to Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) when Wesco Financial shareholders vote on Berkshire’s acquisition of the company today. Wesco, which has been run by Warren Buffett’s right-hand man Charlie Munger since Berkshire took control of the company in 1983, had been viewed by some investors as a cheaper way of getting exposure. Shares of Wesco currently trade for less than $385 while Berkshire’s Class A shares trade for over $112,000. To see Berkshire Hathaway’s top, U.S.-listed, equity holdings, visit tickerspy.com.
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