The Morning Brief: All That Glitters is Not Gold; Herbalife Analyst Flip-Flops.

Gold is now down 20 percent from its peak, putting it officially in bear market territory. This raises the question as to whether hedge funds with big bets on gold, such as Paulson & Co., will stick to them. On Friday, shares of SPDR Gold Shares, an exchange-traded fund that aims to track the price of gold bullion, slumped nearly 5 percent. John Paulson has maintained a heavy bet on SPDR for several years.

Life after Ronald Johnson, the former CEO, has not been a smooth ride so far for J.C. Penney. The troubled retailer has hired Blackstone Group to explore ways to raise money, such as an equity offering. One report says Blackstone may be hunting for a private equity firm to provide stopgap financing. Meanwhile, William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, the largest shareholder with 18 percent, pledged his commitment to the stock at least for now. He may not be as committed if the stock is marked down as aggressively as the prices on merchandise at the embattled retail. On Friday, J.C. Penney shares fell another 1.75 percent, to close at $14.60.

DA Davidson analyst Timothy Ramey, an analyst who follows nutrition supplements company Herbalife, has upgraded the shares several days after he downgraded them. Ramey cut his rating on the stock early last week after reports that the KPMG partner who oversaw Herbalife’s audit admitted to providing insider information about the company. However, on April 12 Ramey proceeded to upgrade Herbalife stock to Buy, from Neutral, and lifted his price target to $78 per share, from $38 per share. According to a report, the analyst changed his mind after the company assured him it probably won’t be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange or be in violation of its loan covenants, concerns that led to his earlier downgrade. Investors were unimpressed, however, bidding the stock down 2.35 percent, to $37.38 on Friday.

Bank of America Corp. has brought in Robert Sachs from UBS to bolster its hedge fund service business. Sachs was named global head of capital introductions and strategy, a group that aims to help hedge funds raise money from investors. He will report to Jon Yalmokas, head of the U.S. prime brokerage.

Related