George Soros became especially notorious after “breaking the Bank of England,” and has since been one of the best-known investors in the world. After taking a few years off, Soros decided to return to actively managing his family office’s investments. Soros Fund Management currently stands among the largest hedge funds in the world, with roughly $29 billion in assets under management and a U.S. equity portfolio valued at approximately $4.67 billion as of June 30.
After a second quarter in which it made 274 adjustments to its portfolio, the firm’s holdings remained focused on information technology stocks (41% of its portfolio’s value), finance stocks (28%), and consumer discretionary stocks (19%), with the ten largest positions accounting for more than half of its portfolio’s value. In this article we’ll take a look at five large moves that Soros Fund Management made during the April-to-June period, and discuss how they have been performing recently.
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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Position Closed
– Shares Owned by Soros Fund Management (as of March 31): 442,696
– Value of Soros Fund Management’s Stake (as of March 31): $50.5 Million
Let’s start with Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), a position that accounted for more than 1% of the value of Soros’ U.S. equity portfolio on March 31, but which was sold out of during the second quarter. Despite plenty of volatility, the stock ended the second quarter nearly flat, though the fund doubtless took some profits from the sale, given Facebook’s performance prior to April. Another fund that sold out of the social media behemoth during the period was David Tepper’s Appaloosa Management, which disposed of its 1.62 million shares during the quarter. On the other hand, 20 billionaires among those we track remained long Facebook as of June 30, making it the second-most popular tech stock among them.
While, in retrospect, selling out might seem like a not-so-good call, given Facebook’s 8.3% surge since the second quarter ended, profits were certainly taken. In addition, it should be noted that, over the same period, the Nasdaq index gained 9.55%. One of the latest spikes in Facebook’s stock was seen a few days ago, after the company announced that it was changing its News Feed algorithm to reduce the number of misleading headlines shown. According to the firm, these are some of the kinds of stories that it is trying to avoid: “When She Looked Under Her Couch Cushions And Saw THIS… I Was SHOCKED!” or “The Dog Barked At The Deliveryman And His Reaction Was Priceless.” Or in other words, the clickbait that passes for headlines on most sites nowadays.
Equinix Inc (NASDAQ:EQIX) Stake Also Liquidated
– Shares Owned by Soros Fund Management (as of March 31): 206,215
– Value of Soros Fund Management’s Stake (as of March 31): $68.19 Million
Another position Soros closed out over the second quarter of 2016 was its Equinix Inc (NASDAQ:EQIX) stake, of which it held 206,215 shares of, worth almost $68.2 million on March 31. The move certainly looks like a smart one, given the stock’s 5.33% tumble seen since June 30, which was largely driven by the sale of eight European data center assets to Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE:DLR) and the acquisition of Digital Realty’s operating business, including real estate and data center facilities, in St. Denis, Paris.
Soros was not the only fund that sold out of Equinix during the second quarter. Another institutional investor that closed out of its stake in the company was Dmitry Balyasny’s Balyasny Asset Management, which got rid of the 84,440 shares it owned on March 31 during the period.
We’ll check out three stocks that Soros Fund Management was bullish on during the second quarter on the next page.