Soros Fund Management, the family office of billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, cut its holdings in US stocks in the fourth quarter and shifted assets globally.
Soros, which manages almost $30bn, moved about $2bn into companies in Asia and Europe, according to a person familiar with the strategy. The New York-based firm returned about 8% in 2014 and is up 1.5% this year, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the firm is private.
Other big hedge fund managers made a similar call on US equities as a slide in oil prices hammered energy holdings.
David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management had $2.74bn less in US stocks in the fourth quarter, a 40% drop from the previous quarter. Louis Bacon’s $14.8bn Moore Capital Management had $2.3bn in US equities at the end of the year, about 25% less than the end of September, according to regulatory filings.
Some managers, such as Leon Cooperman, 71, remain bullish on the US, while predicting bigger gains elsewhere.
“We expect the European and Japanese equity markets to outperform the US in the coming year,” Cooperman, who runs Omega Advisors, wrote in an investor letter last month.
Anticipation of more stimulus from the European Central Bank, along with a weaker euro and expectations of solid earnings, has had an effect on sending money overseas.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index posted its best January since 1989, climbing 7.3% with dividends reinvested, and is up 11% this year. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average has gained 4.3% in 2015, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index had advanced 2.3%. The S&P 500 rose 4.4% last quarter.
Some funds concentrated their sales on oil and natural gas producers.
Jana Partners, the $11bn hedge-fund firm run by Barry Rosenstein, had $2.7bn less in US holdings at the end of the fourth quarter. The New York-based firm, known for taking stakes in companies and then urging management to make changes to boost the stock price, exited its stakes in 41 US stocks including QEP Resources and Apache Corp. Soros, 84, has a net worth of $26bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His firm had 186 positions as of December 31, according to a regulatory filing, down by almost a third from the previous quarter.
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