2010 ended as a pleasant year for stock investors. S&P 500 produced a mid-teen percentage gain and in a GuruFocus survey, 55.7% of our viewers did better than S&P 500. We believe on average our viewers are better informed than population at large on investing topics, and knowledge is power.
Some of the Investment Gurus we track did not do poorly either. Numbers are flying around as to what are the end-of-the-year performances for the star managers, who tend to charge their clients hefty fees and need to justify such fees. According to a recent article in nytimes.com, some Gurus indeed turned in outstanding numbers:
- Third Point Offshore fund, run by Daniel Loeb, was up 25 percent for the year through November after it made successful bets on one of Europe’s largest media operators, ProSieben, and Anadarko Petroleum, according to a report obtained from an investor in the fund.
- SAC Capital Advisors, run by Steven Cohen, was up about 13 percent in its flagship fund, one of his investors said.
- David Einhorn notched a 10.5 percent return at his Greenlight Capital hedge fund through November, raising the fund’s total to $6.8 billion.
- James Simons, the seer of quantitative hedge funds, was up 17 percent in his two public Renaissance funds, which now collectively manage $7 billion.
- David Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management, whose Palomino fund, which invests largely in distressed debt, was up nearly 21 percent at the end of October, according to data from HSBC Private Bank
- In less than three months, his flagship fund, the Paulson Advantage Fund, has turned a double-digit loss into a double-digit gain. At mid-December, the fund, which was worth $9 billion at the start of the year, was up about 14 percent, according to one investor in the fund who provided confidential figures on the condition of anonymity.
The article focuses on John Paulson and has the following statements on which stocks helped Paulson’s performance and especially turnaround in the final months of the year:
First on Gold:
It was a bumpy year for Mr. Paulson who, besides making a huge bet on gold — which rose 30 percent — also took large stakes in several companies he believed would benefit from a sharp recovery in the economy, including banking and financial services companies.
and then individual stocks:
But it is clear that several of Mr. Paulson’s largest stakes — in Hartford Financial Services, MGM Resorts and Boston Scientific — went on a tear in the final quarter of the year, with gains of 16 percent, 30 percent and 26 percent, respectively.
This year, Mr. Paulson bought 43 million shares of the gambling company MGM, whose shares have soared more than 30 percent since the end of September. A bet of 40 million shares in the cable giant Comcast has risen 22 percent this quarter.
Shares of Boston Scientific, of which Mr. Paulson owns 80 million shares, have skyrocketed 26 percent, and his 44 million shares of Hartford Financial Services climbed 16 percent in the quarter.
One of Mr. Paulson’s newer positions, a stake in Anadarko Petroleum, moved up 20 percent in the quarter.
GuruFocus tracks the portfolios of the Investment Gurus mentioned, including Paulson. Here are the Paulson’s holding histories of the three stocks mentioned: