Over 16 years, The Ira Sohn Investment Conference has raised more than $20 million for a very worthy cause. It seeks to help treat children with pediatric cancer and other life-threatening ailments. Hard to find a much more worthy cause.
However, while the Ira Sohn conference is clearly a big winner for those designed to be helped, perhaps the biggest immediate beneficiaries are the hedge fund managers whose stock touts are exchanged for charitable donations.
Divulging well guarded stock holdings—amazing what people are willing to do for charity.
As it turns out, many of the stocks they talked up Wednesday—surprise, surprise—became instant winners for the managers and their investors. So much for the efficient market theory, huh?
On Thursday, every investment touted by a well-known luminary at the conference not only made money, but—with one exception—outperformed every major stock index.
For example, Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn told the riveted audience Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer must leave now. Presto. The stock surged 2 percent the next day (it traded even higher during the session). In addition, the other Einhorn pick – Delta Lloyd, the Dutch financial services firm traded on the Pink Sheets—rose 3.34 percent.
Well, you have to find some way to pay $200 million to buy the New York Mets.
Meanwhile, one day after Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman talked up about Family Dollar Stores, its stock climbed 1 percent (and higher during the day). Nice.
FrontPoint Partners’ Steve Eisman scored nicely on all three insurance stocks he touted: Marsh & McLennan moved up 1.2 percent, AON, 0.48 percent, and Willis Group Holdings, 1.17 percent.
Peter May of Trian Fund Management (for all you oldies, Triangle Industries fame) enjoyed instant gratification from talking up Tiffany, as its stock soared 8.57 percent.
Harbinger Capital Partners’ Phil Falcone got a nice return for boasting about Crosstex Energy, as shares of the natural gas company surged 2.56 percent.
And Carl Icahn was smart to tout the stock of his own company—Icahn Enterprises L.P.—whose shares closed up about 3.44 percent.
It also paid to tout shorts as well. Just ask Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates. His two bets against alternative energy stocks plummeted on Thursday: Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems fell nearly 6 percent on the Copenhagen stock exchange while First Solar lost 2.8 percent.
Now, I know the stock market was up on Thursday as well. But all of these stocks outperformed the Dow Industrials, which closed up just 0.07 percent and the S&P 500, up 0.40 percent. The only widely followed index that beat one of these highly touted stocks was the Nasdaq Composite, up 0.78 percent.
It is so nice of these hedge fund managers to disclose their cherished stock picks for a worthy cause.