David Einhorn Covers Some Shorts, Buys Yahoo & Best Buy ~ market folly

Monday, May 2, 2011

David Einhorn Covers Some Shorts, Buys Yahoo & Best Buy

David Einhorn's hedge fund Greenlight Capital struggled last quarter, returning -2.5%. Their short positions caused a drag on performance and as a result they've covered some of their lower conviction names.

This isn't the first time we've seen a hedge fund do this in recent memory as Whitney Tilson's T2 Partners recently covered shorts that were noticeably affecting performance. In this market, the cost of hedging is high.

Greenlight writes, "We are in a particularly difficult environment for shorting stocks. In response, we have reviewed many of the names in our short portfolio. We covered more than a dozen lower confidence shorts during the quarter. We exited four successful shorts in the for-profit education industry, two foreign bank shorts (one at a small gain, the other at a large loss), a domestic bank short (at a loss), and a technology short (also at a loss). We also covered several others where performance exceeded our expectations. We kept our highest conviction older ideas (including MCO and St. Joe) and our highest conviction newer ideas (including the energy-technology stocks described above)."

New Positions

The second most noticeable development in Greenlight's portfolio is their addition of three new positions.

Best Buy (BBY): Einhorn's hedge fund sees opportunity in the company's Mobile concept, international stores and higher-margin services. Greenlight built their position at $33.33 and shares now trade around $31.40, so this is yet another rare chance to enter a stock around the same price a major hedge fund paid.

Yahoo (YHOO): Many investors have pitched Yahoo as a value play in recent memory and Greenlight obviously sees value here as well, establishing a position at $16.93 per share (the stock trades around $17.80 now). Greenlight likes the company's net cash position and point to Yahoo's 40% stake in Alibaba Group as a valuable asset.

Delphi Automotive: They also acquired a stake in the not-yet-publicly-traded automotive supplier Dephi. This is a hedge fund favorite that has gone through the bankruptcy process and recently morphed into a one-class ownership structure. There's speculation that the company will potentially go public.

We've also detailed some of Greenlight's other positions they added earlier this year.

Top Positions

Rounding out the quarter, Greenlight Capital's largest positions in alphabetical order were:

- Arkema (France: AKE or ARKAY on pink sheets)
- Delta Lloyd
- gold
- Pfizer (PFE)
- Vodafone (VOD)

The most noticeable quarter-over-quarter change here is that Ensco is no longer one of their top holdings. We'll have to wait for their 13F disclosure to see if they merely reduced the position, sold completely out of it, or if other names appreciated more in their portfolio.

Embedded below is Greenlight's first quarter letter in its entirety (email readers come to the site to read it:

To learn to invest like this manager, be sure to check out Einhorn's recommended reading list.

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