Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What We're Reading ~ 10/7/15


Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction [Philip Tetlock & Dan Gardner]

Fat tails, thin ice [Jason Zweig]

Are you prepared for the next bear market? [Fortune]

Most CFOs think the US market is overvalued [Alpha Architect]

Putting a price tag on the Volkswagen scandal [Aswath Damodaran]

A pitch on beaten down Sun Edison [Bronte Capital]

Case study on capital allocation and Rockwood Holdings [Before Losing My Sanity]

Do as they do: a guide to insider activity [Dead Companies Walking]

A look at Cable One [Punch Card Blog]

Some stock picks from Fran├žois Rochon [Montreal Gazette]

How the Bloomberg terminal made history and stays relevant [FastCompany]

Sneaker wars: inside the battle between Nike and Adidas [GQ]

The decline of 'big soda' [NYTimes]

China's middle class dreams in peril [WSJ]

Can Comscore/Rentrak go toe-to-toe with Nielsen? [Variety]

Google Fiber's real innovation [Beyond Devices]

Why we fall for bogus research [Bloomberg View]

Alcoa and the painful business of making aluminum [Reuters]

The frustrating life of a McDonald's franchisee [Bloomberg]


Bill Ackman's Talk at Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit

Pershing Square's Bill Ackman sat down with Stephanie Ruhle for an interview at Bloomberg Markets Most Influential Summit yesterday.

It's around a 30-minute talk but here's the broad takeaways from the interview:

- Still owns Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX), but hasn't added to the position or sold any shares

- Looked at General Electric (GE) but passed because it wasn't cheap enough; thinks Nelson Peltz will do well with it

- More to come with his Herbalife (HLF) saga

- Notes Burger King (part of Restaurant Brands (QSR)) has cut costs, improved stores/experience and same store sales are doing well

- Thinks Bloomberg should run for President

Embedded below is the video of Ackman's Bloomberg talk:



For more from this manager, head to Pershing Square's semi-annual report.


Paul Tudor Jones Interview on Bloomberg: "Choppier Market" Ahead

Paul Tudor Jones of macro hedge fund Tudor Investment Corp recently sat down with Bloomberg to talk about the macro picture, the Federal Reserve, and more.

Jones said that, "But I think the reality is it's clear low interest rates hurts savers and help borrowers. I think what the Fed is doing and the reason why they won't raise interest rates now, I think it's kind of acknowledging to me a much larger macro issue, which is if you think about the last 50, 60 years, there's is a perfect negative correlation between the interest income paid by the Federal government and interest rates. So the higher the share of GDP that's paid in interest income by the Federal government, typically that correlates high interest rates also. So what the Fed is doing is recognizing there is a tail risk with low interest rates. There's a tail risk with zero. We seem to run perpetual deficits at minus two, minus percent."

When asked what QE4 would do, he replied, "Again, I think it's a really interesting time in the market. It's if you kind of just look at financial conditions index, if you look at where global growth is going, this is typically historically associated, been associated with the Fed lowering interest rates, some type of interest rate relief. And that's always typically been good for stock markets. And yet now we have a central bank that I think for the first time is actually -- is managing towards the credit side of the equation, as opposed to the economic side of the equation.     And by that I mean they're looking at the balance sheet. They're uncomfortable with the size of it. That's why they want to get rates away from zero. I think they're concerned about the expanding global debt-to-GDP. And I think they're trying to probably insert back into the equation the fact that interest rates can rise and that people need to manage their balance sheets accordingly, particularly the federal government."

Jones was then questioned as to why they haven't already raised rates.  He said:

"I think they had their opportunity last spring. They probably missed it. They're trying to catch up. And again, all you have got to do think about at zero rates it encourages this nonstop borrowing from the federal governments because of the fact that interest income as a percentage of GDP is at one of the lowest levels in the past 34 years because rates are at zero. It encourages bad behavior by a variety of different stakeholders, not the least of which is our federal government.

Well, again, I think the Federal Reserve Board is managing for the balance sheet, as opposed to local economic conditions. Every time we've had this kind of set of macro variables, a huge bear market in commodities, slowing global growth, you have typically seen the Fed respond with an easing. I think of '98 in particular. And normally it would be a great time to own stocks.     Now I think for the first time since Volcker, probably, you see the Fed managing, in my mind, they're managing for the balance sheet to take out the tail risk associated, and associated with expanding debt virtually globally, and not to mention our federal debt. And I don't know if they necessarily say that avowedly, but to me it makes the most sense."

When asked if he thinks this points to a bear market, Jones said it points to a choppier market. He went on to add, "Again, the BOJ seems to be a reluctant easer, their balance sheet constrained, ECB, everyone expects them to go, but it will be an incremental step because I think they're, to a certain extent, balance sheet constrained and uncomfortable with it. So normally where you would be seeing a lot of interest rate relief globally, it's different this time. And I think that's one reason why the markets are going to be much choppier going forward."

Tudor Jones then ended the interview by noting that, "I think it's challenging times. There are a lot of crosscurrents. Again, it would be really easy to be super bullish on equities, given what the response function should be, but it's not going to happen."

Embedded below is the video of Jones' appearance on Bloomberg:



Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Viking Global Increases Kite Pharma Position

Andreas Halvorsen's hedge fund firm Viking Global has filed a 13G with the SEC regarding Kite Pharma (KITE).  Per the filing, Viking now owns 6.1% of the company with over 2.68 million shares.

This is up from the 677,334 shares they owned at the end of the second quarter.  The filing was made due to activity on September 25th.

You can view other recent portfolio activity from Viking here.

Per Google Finance, Kite Pharma is "a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. The Company is focused on the development and commercialization of cancer immunotherapy products to eradicate cancer cells. The Company does this using its engineered autologous cell therapy (eACT), which is an approach to the treatment of cancer. eACT involves the genetic engineering of T cells to express either chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or T cell receptors (TCRs). It is conducting a Phase II clinical trial of a TCR-based therapy and multiple Phase I-IIa clinical trials of CAR- and TCR-based therapies. The Company's lead product candidate KTE-C19, is a CAR-based therapy, for the treatment of refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL), primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma (PMBCL) and transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL). It is developing a pipeline of eACT-based product candidates for the treatment of advanced solid and hematological malignancies: CD19CAR, KTE-C19CAR and EGFRvlll CAR, among others."


Bridger Capital Raises TG Therapeutics Stake

Roberto Mignone's hedge fund firm Bridger Capital has filed a 13G with the SEC regarding shares of TG Therapeutics (TGTX).  Per the filing, Bridger now owns 6% of the company with over 3.15 million shares.

This is basically double the 1.53 million shares they owned at the end of the second quarter. The filing was required due to activity on September 25th.  TGTX shares are down over 27% over the past three months and Bridger has taken advantage of that dip.

Per Google Finance, TG Therapeutics is "a biopharmaceutical company focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of treatments for b-cell malignancies and autoimmune diseases. As of December 31, 2014, TG had two therapies targeting hematological malignancies. TG-1101 (ublituximab) is a glycoengineered monoclonal antibody that targets a specific epitope on the CD20 antigen found on mature B-lymphocytes. The Company is also developing TGR-1202, an orally available PI3K delta inhibitor. As of December 31, 2014, both TG-1101 and TGR-1202 were in clinical development for patients with hematologic malignancies. The Company also has a pre-clinical program to develop inhibitors of IRAK4 (interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 4), as well as an antibody research program to develop anti-PD-L1 and anti- glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor (GITR) antibodies, which were in pre-clinical development as of December 31, 2014."


Monday, October 5, 2015

Coatue Management & Maverick Capital Short Ashtead Group

Philippe Laffont's hedge fund firm Coatue Management has recently filed a disclosure with the UK's regulatory body regarding a short position.  They are now short 1.02% of Ashtead Group's (LON:AHT) shares as of September 30th.  This is up from the 0.91% of shares they were short just two days prior.  This is also an increase from the 0.52% they were short back on August 6th.

Lee Ainslie's hedge fund Maverick Capital has also filed similar disclosures.  Per their filing, Maverick now is short 0.74% of Ashtead Group as of September 24th.  However, Maverick's position has decreased in size recently from the 0.85% of shares they were short on September 23rd.


Given the volatility in markets as of late, we're providing updates on various hedge fund short positions.  You can scroll through them all by clicking here: hedge fund short positions.

The UK regulatory rules for short position disclosures state that hedge funds must file when their net short position eclipses 0.2% of the issued share capital of a company.  Notification is also required again at each 0.1% increment after that.  This applies to both increases and decreases in the position.  Public disclosure is required when net short positions reach 0.5% of issued share capital.  Additionally, disclosure is required when the position subsequently falls below 0.5%.

Per Google Finance, Ashtead Group is "a United Kingdom-based equipment rental company with networks in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Company operates through two business units: Sunbelt, which provides pump and power, climate control and scaffolding service, and A-Plant business, which operates through Eve Trakway Limited (Eve), which constructs temporary roadways and barriers; PSS, which offers trenchless technology and fusion services, and FLG (lifting) services. Both the units are also engaged in general equipment and related businesses. The Company rents a range of construction and industrial equipment across a range of applications. Its equipment can be used to lift, power, generate, move, dig, compact, drill, support, scrub, pump, direct, heat and ventilate. Its subsidiaries include Ashtead Holdings PLC, Sunbelt Rentals, Inc., Sunbelt Rentals Industrial Services LLC, Ashtead Plant Hire Company Limited, Ashtead Capital, Inc. and Ashtead Financing Limited."


Third Point Ups Short in Peugeot

Dan Loeb's hedge fund firm Third Point has recently filed disclosures with the French regulatory body regarding a short position.  Per the filing, Third Point is now short 1.01% of Peugeot's shares in France as of September 24th.

This is up from the 0.98% of shares they were short on September 23rd.  As we've previously highlighted, Viking Global is also short Peugeot (though they've been trading around the position as of late).  Viking's last disclosure shows them short 0.99% of shares as of the end of September, down from as high as 1.52% of shares in the middle of the month.

Given the volatility in markets as of late, we're providing updates on various hedge fund short positions.  You can scroll through them all by clicking here: hedge fund short positions.

 You can view additional portfolio activity from Third Point here.


Hound Partners Boosts Short in Admiral Group

Jonathan Auerbach's hedge fund firm Hound Partners recently filed updated short position disclosures in the UK regarding their short of Admiral Group (LON:ADM).

Per the filings, Hound has disclosed they are now short 1.71% of shares as of October 1st.  This is up from the 1.6% of shares they were short back on June 17th.

Given the volatility in markets as of late, we're providing updates on various hedge fund short positions.  You can scroll through them all by clicking here: hedge fund short positions.

The UK regulatory rules for short position disclosures state that hedge funds must privately file when their net short position eclipses 0.2% of the issued share capital of a company.  Notification is also required again at each 0.1% increment after that.  This applies to both increases and decreases in the position.  Public disclosure is required when net short positions reach 0.5% of issued share capital.  Additionally, disclosure is required when the position subsequently falls below 0.5%.

Per Google Finance, Admiral Group is "a United Kingdom-based company engaged in the provision of car insurance. The Company has four operational segments, which include UK Car Insurance, International Car Insurance, Price Comparison and Other. The UK Car Insurance segment consists of the underwriting of car insurance and other products that supplement the car insurance policy. The International Car Insurance segment consists of the underwriting of car insurance and the generation of revenue from additional products and fees, from underwriting car insurance outside of the United Kingdom. The Price Comparison segment relates to the Company's price comparison Websites; Confused.com in the United Kingdom, Rastreator in Spain, LeLynx in France and compare.com in the United States. The Other segment comprises of the United Kingdom household insurance, the Company's commercial van insurance broker, Gladiator and commercial van insurance. It operates approximately 14 brands in seven countries."


Blue Ridge Capital Shorts Royal Mail

John Griffin's hedge fund Blue Ridge Capital has filed a short position disclosure with regulators in the UK.  Per the filing, Blue Ridge is now short 0.75% of Royal Mail's (LON:RMG) shares as of September 25th.  As far as we can tell, this is a newly disclosed short position.

Given the volatility in markets as of late, we're providing updates on various hedge fund short positions.  You can scroll through them all by clicking here: hedge fund short positions.

The UK regulatory rules for short position disclosures state that hedge funds must privately file when their net short position eclipses 0.2% of the issued share capital of a company.  Notification is also required again at each 0.1% increment after that.  This applies to both increases and decreases in the position.  Public disclosure is required when net short positions reach 0.5% of issued share capital.  Additionally, disclosure is required when the position subsequently falls below 0.5%.

Per Google Finance, Royal Mail plc provides postal services. The Company's segments include UK Parcels, International & Letters (UKPIL), General Logistics Systems (GLS) and Other. The UKPIL segment provides letter and parcel services to and from countries across the world under reciprocal arrangements with other overseas postal administrations. It is also responsible for the design and production of the United Kingdom's stamps and philatelic products. The UKPIL segment includes Royal Mail Group Limited, Royal Mail Estates Limited and Royal Mail Investments Limited. The GLS segment operates in continental Europe and the Republic of Ireland and operates ground-based parcel delivery network in Europe. The GLS segment includes GLS Germany GmbH & Co. OHG, GLS Italy S.p.A. and GLS France S.A.S. The Other segment includes its subsidiaries, Romec Limited, which is engaged in facilities management; NDC 2000 Limited, a provider of design services, and Quadrant Catering Ltd, a provider of catering services.


Lone Pine Capital Increases Short Position in Rolls Royce

Steve Mandel's hedge fund firm Lone Pine Capital has recently made some disclosures regarding their short position in shares of Rolls Royce (RR.L) in the UK.

We previously highlighted Lone Pine's initial short in RR shares earlier this summer and now they've increased their short position further.  Per filings made with the UK's FCA, Mandel's firm increased the short to 0.66% of shares on September 22nd, up to 0.76% of shares on September 23rd, and then finally up to 0.85% of shares a day later.  This is the most recent disclosure.

As we've also detailed, this is now somewhat of a battleground stock between two well respected investment managers as Jeff Ubben's ValueAct Capital is long RR.  They obviously saw an opportunity for activism here and are long-term investors.  Lone Pine, on the other hand, is looking to take advantage of the near-term troubles at the company.

We've posted a bunch of short position updates this week.  You can scroll through them all by clicking here: hedge fund short positions.

The UK regulatory rules for short position disclosures state that hedge funds must file when their net short position eclipses 0.2% of the issued share capital of a company.  Notification is also required again at each 0.1% increment after that.  This applies to both increases and decreases in the position.  Public disclosure is required when net short positions reach 0.5% of issued share capital.  Additionally, disclosure is required when the position subsequently falls below 0.5%.

You can read more recent portfolio activity from Lone Pine here.


Glenview Capital Buys More Tenet Healthcare

Larry Robbins' hedge fund firm Glenview Capital recently filed a Form 4 with the SEC regarding its position in Tenet Healthcare (THC).  Per the filing, Glenview now owns 16.49 million THC shares.

They acquired 500,000 shares on September 30th at weighted average prices of $36.21 and $36.92.  Tenet has been a longstanding holding of the hedge fund's as part of their for-profit hospital basket.  THC shares are down 36% over the past three months.

We've also highlighted other recent portfolio activity from Glenview here.

Per Google Finance, Tenet Healthcare is "a healthcare services company. The Company operates regionally focused, integrated healthcare delivery networks in large urban and suburban markets. As of December 31, 2014, it operated 80 hospitals, 210 outpatient centers, six health plans and Conifer Health Solutions, LLC (Conifer), which provides healthcare business process services in the areas of revenue cycle management, value-based care and patient communications. It provides operational management for revenue cycle functions, including patient access, health information management, revenue integrity and patient financial services. It also offers communications and engagement solutions to optimize the relationship between providers and patients. Conifer operates a management services business that supports value-based performance through clinical integration, financial risk management and population health management. It has two operating segments: Hospital Operations and other, and Conifer."


Fairholme Capital Updates Stakes in Sears Canada, St. Joe's

Fairholme Capital's Bruce Berkowitz recently made a few filings with the SEC.  First, an amended 13G on its position in Sears Canada (SRSC).  According to the SEC filing, Berkowitz now owns 17.23% of the company with 17.55 million shares.  The filing was made due to activity on September 29th.  This compares to the 16 million shares that Fairholme reported in its last 13F filing as of the second quarter.

Second, Fairholme also filed an amended 13D on their longtime holding St. Joe's (JOE).  Per the filing, Fairholme now owns 32.3% of the company with 24.4 million shares.  This filing was required due to activity on September 28th.  This is a slight decrease from the 24.6 million shares Fairholme was shown to own at the end of Q2 per its most recent 13F filing. 

Fairholme's latest 13D shows they sold 105,000 shares at $18 on September 21st and 2,200 shares on August 21st at $16.78 and the fine print notes theses sales were "sold in an issuer tender offer at the direction of an advisory client" and then "sold at the discretion of an advisory client" respectively.

You can view past Fairholme portfolio activity here.


Avenue Capital's Marc Lasry: "The Best Place To Invest Is The US"

Avenue Capital's Marc Lasry today appeared on Bloomberg TV to talk about markets.

Pulled from the full transcript, Masry commented that:

On the U.S. economy, Lasry said: "I actually think the U.S. economy is doing great compared to the rest of the world.  So the first question is where would you want to invest?  Do you want to invest in the U.S., do you want to invest in Europe, do you want to invest in China, do you want to invest in emerging markets?  At the end of the day, the best place to invest is the U.S. So if I was going to be an equity investor, I would be an investor in the U.S."

On the idea of more Fed stimulus, Lasry said: "I think it would be the worst thing in the world…I think right now, we have been living off of theses low interest rates and having more stimulus isn’t what you need.  What you actually need is you need to get back to a little bit of normalacy and understand that the Fed can’t keep on pumping more and more stimulus into our economy.  Our economy is fine.  Let it grow and let it do what it needs to do."

Embedded below are some of the videos of Lasry's interview on Bloomberg TV:

Video 1


Video 2


Video 3


Video 4


For more from this manager, head to Marc Lasry's interview on Wall Street Week.


John Burbank Lecture at UC Berkeley Haas - Invest In Things That Have Never Happened Before

Passport Capital's John Burbank earlier this year gave a talk at UC Berkeley Haas that's well worth your time watching.  In it, he lays out Passport's approach of combining three different types of investing: macro, fundamental, and quant.

He notes that all risk is backwards looking and hedging is for regression to the mean. 

He presented a concept that "Price is a liar."  He argues that, "Price means nothing other than the equilibrium of liquidity."  Counter that with the typical thinking that "Price is all the information that exists in the market."

He says that when something new happens it takes yeas for all the liquidity in the world to discount that thing

Burbank went on to say: "Do not imagine you know where we are in 2019.  The market doesn't, it has no idea."  That said, he laid out his best guesses for the next 5 years: low global growth, leading equities over fixed income, US over emerging markets, stronger dollar, favor quality & liquidity, innovation & governance win.

His longs have been positioned to benefit from a stronger dollar while his shorts the opposite (foreign companies that have borrowed in dollars, commodity exposed companies, etc.)  The Passport managers also feels that yields are going lower.

Burbank's talk is intriguing and thought provoking.  He also echoes another salient point that other investors have highlighted: you have to match your investing style to your personality.

Embedded below is the video of Burbank's talk at Berkeley:



For more from the Passport manager, head to Burbank's presentation at the SALT conference from earlier this year.


Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Presentation on Their New Stake in General Electric

Nelson Peltz's investment firm Trian Partners has disclosed a new stake in General Electric (GE).  Trian now apparently owns 98.5 million shares of GE worth around $2.5 billion.

Trian's amended 13F filed with the SEC for the second quarter now shows that they owned 49.6 million shares of GE at the end of June.   

Of the stake, Peltz said that "We invested in GE because it is undervalued and underappreciated by the market despite what we believe is a transformation that will allow its world-class industrial businesses to drive attractive shareowner returns.  Our recent discussions with Jeff and his team have solidified our belief that they are highly motivated to fully deliver on GE's transformation and share much common ground with Trian on ways to improve long-term shareowner value."

Trian's Ed Garden also added, "Trian believes GE has significant long-term potential and that its implied target value per share, including dividends, could be $40 to $45 by the end of 2017 based on our view that GE can deliver EPS of at least $2.20 in 2018. We believe that the strategy of GE management and the board is broadly in line with our recommendations and we look forward to continuing to interact with management as GE works to expand operating margins, drive organic growth, increase capital efficiency and execute a disciplined capital allocation strategy.”


Trian's Presentation on General Electric

Embedded below is their presentation on GE:



You can download a .pdf copy here.

For more on this firm, head to Trian's recent portfolio activity.


Donald Drapkin on Wall Street Week

Anthony Scaramucci's rebooted show Wall Street Week this time around featured Donald Drapkin of Casablanca Capital, as well as former NYSE Chairman & CEO Dick Grasso and James Frischling of NewOak.

Embedded below is the video of Drapkin's appearance on Wall Street Week:



For more from this show, check out Steve Tananbaum's appearance on Wall Street Week as well as their previous interview with Eminence Capital's Ricky Sandler.