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David Tepper is the happiest man in hedge funds

Never afraid to be first, David Tepper's Appaloosa grossed $7.5 billion last year by betting on financials early on.

By Stephen TaubWhen Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, most hedge funds and other investors saw trouble. David Tepper sensed opportunity. Tepper—who headed junk bond trading for Goldman Sachs until he left to start Chatham, N.J., Appaloosa Management in 1993, recalled the last banking crisis, in 1990, when he

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