It’s hard to say that Bill Ackman came out of the J.C. Penney debacle looking good. But in one regard the hedge fund manager did score a minor victory: he and his Pershing Square Capital Management sold their shares before the bloodbath began in the ailing retailer’s stock.
By Katya Wachtel and Peter Rudegeair
At SAC Capital Advisors’ sprawling Stamford, Connecticut headquarters on Thursday morning, security guards barred reporters from getting too close to the office building, holding them to an intersection a few hundred yards from the driveway.
Hedge fund manager John Paulson has shunned the limelight in recent years but in recent weeks it’s a different story, with the 57-year-old manager not only giving his first ever TV interview, he’s also set to take the stand in one of the most closely-watched trials in the country – the civil case against former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre.
I recently chatted with veteran technical analyst Ralph Acampora, a director at Geneva-based Altaira Ltd., about secular bull trends in the U.S. stock market. A real secular bull market can last decades, and he sees this equity market uptrend as similar to the long-term bull markets in the 1960’s and, more obviously on technical charts, the 1990’s. He pointed out that bull-and-bear trend measures and other short-term sentiment readings can change week to week, confusing some participants about the market’s longer-term path. Acampora laid out the psychology behind sentiment in a secular bull market, which has three long phases. It starts with fear of the bear market at the stock market’s bottom. At the March 2009 low, everyone was worried about further declines and losing money. The mood was characterized by fear and disbelief. In reaction, the first buyers in a classic bull market gravitate toward quality stocks. They lead equities higher, because no one wants to take risk. Investors say, “I’ll never do that again,” about buying junk. They only want high quality, high-yielding stocks. That’s Phase 1. It began in 2009 and lasted until now.
Kay Chapman and her boyfriend were saving up money to buy a home in the Las Vegas metro area while renting a home in a nearby town. But after months of plotting a strategy to buy a home at a foreclosure auction, they’ve given up for now and will soon move into another rental home–this one owned by private equity giant Blackstone Group.
In the complaint against former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine filed in federal court on Thursday, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission depicted the former New Jersey Governor as a negligent leader who should never be allowed back into the financial industry because he did not try hard enough to stop his employees from raiding the brokerage’s customer accounts to cover its own trading losses.
One of the biggest economic stories this year has been the recovery in U.S. home prices. But for the more than 11 million homeowners stuck with a mortgage that’s worth more than the value of their home, it has felt more like being Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day.