This content is from: Portfolio

The Morning Brief: Hedge Funds Are Watching These Stocks

So, how did the average hedge fund fare last year? As we pointed out earlier, it all depends upon whom you ask. Today’s source: The Dow Jones Credit Suisse Hedge Fund Index, which reported a 1.48 percent gain in December and 7.67 percent for the year. Meanwhile, the Newedge CTA Index showed a loss of 2.95 percent for 2012. The Newedge CTA Trend Sub-Index lost 3.39 percent last year.

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John Kinnucan, the guy who refused to wear a wire in the government’s insider trading crackdown, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for his role in the scheme that has brought down hedge fund managers, so-called “experts” who supplied confidential tips to funds, and employees of expert network firms. Kinnucan, the president of Broadband Research, an expert networking firm, pled guilty in July 2012 to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and two counts of securities fraud. He is accused of paying money for inside information from employees of a number of companies, including F5 Networks, Sandisk and Flextronics International.

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Another former SAC Capital portfolio manager is launching his own fund. Charles Simonian, who worked at SAC’s Sigma Capital unit, plans to open Trove Capital Management LLC in the next few months. He plans to focus on long-short equity.

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William J. Michaelcheck’s Mariner Investment Group is merging with Concordia Advisors, an alternative asset manager that manages $1 billion. Concordia’s portfolio managers Arun Puri and John Eckert, who specialize in G10 rates; James Wise and Chris Dillon (Municipals); and Jason Cheung (Equities), will continue to manage their funds under the Mariner brand. Mariner manages $10.2 billion in single and multi-strategy hedge funds, funds of funds and other alternative investments.

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Here’s a round-up of the stocks most hedge fund followers are watching closely right now:

- Herbalife surged another 4.65 percent, to close at $46.13, comfortably above the price at which the stock closed the day before Pershing Square Bill Ackman announced his fateful short.

- JC Penney, a big Ackman long, closed up 3.43 percent, at $18.71.

- Apple, perhaps the most popular stock among hedge funds, closed down 3.15 percent at $485.92, finishing below $500 for the first time in 11 months.

- Sears Holdings, Eddie Lampert’s huge holding, closed down nearly 1 percent, at $44.22.

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