Quarterly Data Confirms Hedge Funds Exited Stocks In A Big Way

November 17, 2008 5:17 PM EST
If you pay attention to the stock market then you've probably heard about the problems in hedge fund land. For the past few months each day is filled with headlines about how much one fund lost and how another is being closed completely, and still others are pulling money out of the market. On Friday, we got a small glimpse on how bad things are getting. Each quarter, hedge funds larger than $100 million must file a 13F disclosing their long market positions as of the end of the quarter. Usually this quarterly ritual is a great way to find new stock ideas, but this quarter the filings just confirm some of the things we've heard about the trouble in the industry.

Below is data from 11 top hedge funds about where they stacked at the end of the quarter. For the most part, the data is showing a significant decline in equity positions. It can be assumed that this is related to hedge fund redemptions, asset value losses, leverage compression and just a negative view on stocks. However, this data is not a complete picture as hedge funds are not required to disclose their cash positions, short positions and non-equity securities.

SAC Capital:
Steven Cohen's SAC Capital has long been considered one of the world's top hedge fund. Recently, reports surfaced that SAC pulled half their money out of the market and put it into cash. The reports were not too far from the truth as SAC's latest 13F showed the firm cut their long positions from 1,383 to 805 and the value of the long positions fell from $14.4 billion to $7.7 billion (From June 30, 2008 to Sept 30, 2008).

Some notables from SAC for the quarter included a new 3.1M shares stake in Genentech (NYSE: DNA) and a new 1.3M shares stake in Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN).

Caxton Associates:
Bruce Kovner's Caxton Associates is another top hedge fund, but it too exited stocks in a big way. At June 30, 2008 Caxton held 1,214 positions worth $6.5B and at Sept 30, 2008 held 127 worth $2.24B.

Some notables from Caxton's 13F is 3.7M share raised stake in JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) and a new 1.37M share stake in Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB).

Renaissance Technologies:
Jim Simons' Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund run on computer models, showed a drop in long positions and value. At June 30, the fund had 3289 positions worth $45.4 billion and at Sept 30 the fund had 3254 positions worth $38.1 billion.

Some notables from Renaissance Technologies included a raised stake in Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL).

Third Point LLC:
Daniel Loeb's Third Point LLC, an activist hedge fund, saw its positions fall from 71 to 63 and the value of the positions fall from $3.9B to $1.7B.

Some notables from Third Point included new 1.1M share stake in Lorillard, Inc. (NYSE: LO) and new 1 milion shares stake in CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS). Third Point also sold its 6.85M share stake in Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).

JANA Partners:
Barry Rosenstein's JANA Partners, another activist fund, saw its positions fall from 108 to 66 and the value of those holdings fall from $5.9B to $2.15B.

Some notables from JANA for the quarter included a new stake 1.6M share stake in Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and new 2.3M shares stake in Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). The firm cut its stake in Copart (Nasdaq: CPRT) by 1 million shares.

Atticus Capital:
Timothy Barakett's Atticus Capital saw a big drop. The firm held 62 positions worth $8.1B at June 30, 2008. That is now down to 22 positions worth $509M.

Some notables from Atticus for the quarter included selling 13.65 million shares of Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP), bringing their stake to 833K. They also sold 11.3 million shares of Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI), 10.6 million shares of NYSE (NYSE: NYX), 8.6 million shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. (NYSE: BNI), and 10.2 million shares of ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP).

Greenlight Capital:
David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital saw its positions drop from 63 to 50 and the value of its positions drop from $2.8 billion to $1.44 billion.

Some notables from Greenlight Capital for the quarter included a new 1.85M share stake in EMC (NYSE: EMC) and new 1.17M share stake in Kinross Gold Corp. (NYSE: KGC). Greenlight also cut its 9.91 million stake in Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).

Viking Global:
Viking Global saw its positions drop from 43 long positions worth $5.1 billion to 50 long positions worth $3.5 billion.

Some notables from Viking Global for the quarter included new stakes in VeriSign (Nasdaq: VRSN) and Visa (NYSE: V).

Harbinger Capital:
Phillip Falcone's Harbinger Capital saw its positions shrink from 38 positions worth $9.4 billion to 34 positions worth $4.8 billion.

Some notables from Harbinger Capital for the quarter included a raised stake in Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) to 22.7M shares and a new 3.5M share stake in Constellation Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: CEG). Harbinger also sold 12.2M shares of AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) and 8.5M shares of Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO).

Tremblant Capital:
Brett Barakett's Tremblant Capital saw its positions shrink from 72 to 66 and the value fall from $4.1B to $2.2B.

Some notables from Tremblant Capital includes a raised stake in RIM (Nasdaq: RIMM). Tremblant cut its stake in Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) nearly in half, and sold all of its 4.7M shares in Cogent Inc. (Nasdaq: COGT).

Pershing Square Capital:
Bill Ackman's Pershing Square actually showed an increase in both positions and value. The positions in the fund rose from 21 to 30 and the value rose from $2.5B to $3.9B.

Some notables from Pershing Square included a new 2.7M share stake in Visa (NYSE: V) and a new 570K share stake in Mastercard (NYSE: MA). Ackman also raised his stake in EMC (NYSE: EMC) from 18.7M to 58.6M.

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Daniel Loeb, Harbinger Capital, SAC Capital, William Ackman, Caxton Associates, Renaissance Technologies, James Simons, Atticus Capital, Pershing Square Capital, JPMorgan, JANA Partners LLC, Steven A. Cohen, Barry Rosenstein, Greenlight Capital, David Einhorn, Third Point LLC, Tremblant Capital, Hedge Funds

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