Morning Brief: Highfields Posts Slight Loss in 2017

The hedge fund firm’s performance last year follows several years of middling returns.


Jonathon Jacobson’s Highfields Capital Management just posted its fourth straight mediocre year. The Boston multistrategy fund was roughly flat in the fourth quarter. As a result, it finished the year down 0.30 percent, according to an investor in the fund. It also posted low to mid-single-digit gains in each of the three previous years. Highfields manages more than $12 billion. It gave $2 billion back to investors at the end of 2013. A representative for Highfields did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.


Bridgewater Associates’ U.S. stock portfolio fell in value to $12.2 billion at the end of the fourth quarter from 14.9 billion at the end of the September quarterly period, according to its latest 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The world’s largest hedge fund firm generally devotes the bulk of this portfolio to broad-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In the fourth quarter, the firm reduced the allocation to its top three holdings, from roughly 72 percent of U.S. long assets to 62 percent. It pared No. 1-holding Vanguard International Equity Index Fund by 21 percent and halved its stake in iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund. It essentially left unchanged its stake in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF. Altogether, Bridgewater manages $150 billion, so $12.2 billion is just a paltry part of the pie.


Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill surged nearly 12 percent in after-hours trading after the casual dining chain named Brian Niccol as its new chief executive officer and a member of the board, effective March 5. He was most recently CEO of Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell Division. Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management is the largest shareholder of Chipotle.