Banking & Finance

Whale Watching Stocks: Paulson, Soros, Berkowitz, Icahn, Einhorn (GLD, HPQ, RIG, BAC, JPM, WFC, C, AAPL, BBY, WMT, MA, AIG, BAM, CSCO, SHLD, GGP, GE, DYN, AMGN, SUG, CVS, GM)

We have already seen (some) of the position changes of Warren Buffett, but the old guy wouldn’t share many ‘confidential positions’ so we are whale watching in other ponds.  We wanted to take a look through some of the key changes in holdings of John Paulson, George Soros, Bruce Berkowitz, Carl Icahn, David Enihorn, and others.  In order to save on space and time, we are only addressing some of the biggest changes that we thought stood out the most rather than hitting all of the positions of every whale fund manager.

Paulson & Co. Inc. had some changes. 

One change Paulson did not make was in the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD).  That may have been lightened up since the March 31 date as some rumors indicated, but that 13F filing showed that the March 31 position was called as 31.5 million shares worth some $4.4 billion as of March 31.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) is a new position of 25 million shares worth just over $1 billion for Paulson.  Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) was listed 24.5 million shares versus only about 7.2 million shares the previous quarter.

Soros Fund Management LLC cut gold and banks.

SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE: GLD) was slashed down to a mere 49,400 shares worth $6.9 million at the end of March 31, 2011.  If that is not a massive gold exit, what is?

The big bank position cuts came in.  Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) was slashed down massively to 29,400 shares, as if Soros just didn’t get the sales in before the close on that day.  Soros cut stakes in J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and in Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC).  JPMorgan was 624,600 shares worth $28.7 million and Wells Fargo was just over 3.5 million shares worth $111.1 million as of March 31.  The exception in banks was a larger stake in Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE: C) listed as 2.938 million shares worth some $129.8 million.  Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was down to 230,433 shares worth $80.3 million for Soros, but there are some 210,000 shares worth of call options and some 280,000 shares worth of Put options listed.  SOme elimination positions that no longer appear are Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT).

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway was the smallest changes ever, mainly because Buffett kept new positions confidential with the SEC. 

Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) was the only new Berkshire Hathaway position and it was too small to even matter for Berkshire Hathaway.

Bruce Berkowitz of Fairholme Captal Management made some key changes.

Berkowitz appears to have trimmed American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) slightly and that is listed as almost 44.2 million shares but there are many warrants listed.  Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (NYSE: BAM) was announced as a new position of 27,500,000 shares worth some $892 million.  Bruce Berkowitz must also be on the move in Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) as he bought more than 35.8 million shares worth some $614 million as of March 31.  Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD) was also a gain of about 1.4 million shares to a higher count of more than 16.3 million shares worth some $1.35 billion.

Berkowitz slashed eliminated his entire stake in General Growth Properties (NYSE: GGP).  That had previously been more than 100 million shares worth more than $1.7 billion.  He also eliminated General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), down from almost 16 million shares previously noted.

Carl Icahn’s changes are not as numerous on the surface and some appear to have been known. 

Dynegy Inc. (NYSE: DYN) was up to more than 14.4 million shares, but that figure may be more now.  Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) appears as a new position with 1.02 million shares worth some $54.5 million shares.  SOuthern Union Co. (NYSE: SUG) was listed as a new position for Icahn as well, but this was only 186,154 shares worth some $5.328 million.

David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital also made some key Changes.

Greenlight gave a green light to new positions in Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) at about 6 million shares worth over $172 million and 3.275 million shares of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS) worth more than $110 million.  General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) was also a new position of more than 3.5 million shares worth more than $100 million.  


Again, keep in mind that these are just some of the whale watching trades that took place in the first quarter of this year.  There were too many to focus on individually and we wanted to focus on some of the more apparent trades that were in identifiable names for the investing public.


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