Brevan Howard, considered one of the largest macro hedge funds in the world till sometime ago, has been witnessing a steady decline in its assets since the past few quarters. According to the Wall Street Journal, investors withdrew more than $3 billion from Brevan Howard’s master fund during the first half of 2016 and the fund’s assets under management (AUM) are down by more than 50% in the last two years to $19.4 billion from almost $42 billion. The fund was founded in 2002 by billionaire Alan Howard along with four other fixed-income traders from Credit Suisse and built a name for itself by performing extremely well during the financial crisis and the years that followed. However, its recent performance paints a dismal picture.
According to Brevan Howard’s latest 13F filing, it became extremely bearish on US and emerging market equities during the second quarter, selling its entire holdings in Argentinean stocks, which once constituted a major chunk of its portfolio. At the end of June, the fund had massive derivative positions in Put options of S&P 500 and iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Indx (ETF), which accounted for over 95% of the value of its equity portfolio, and was long in only two US stocks, both from the financial sector. Considering that both the S&P 500 and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Indx (ETF) are trading in the green for the third quarter currently and the Argentinean stock index, MERVAL BUENOS AIRES, has appreciated by 7.8% since the end of June, it’s quite possible that Brevan Howard’s performance would have taken a further beating in the third quarter. In this post, we will take a look at three major holdings of the fund which it liquidated during the second quarter, and the only two stocks that it held in its portfolio going into the third quarter.
We track hedge funds and prominent investors because our research has shown that historically their stock picks delivered superior risk-adjusted returns. This is especially true in the small-cap space. The 15 most popular small-cap stocks delivered a monthly alpha of 80 basis points in our backtests that covered the period between 1999 and 2012 (see the details here).
Cresud S.A.C.I.F. y A. (ADR) (NASDAQ:CRESY)
Brevan Howard had initiated its stake in Cresud S.A.C.I.F. y A. during the first quarter of 2015. Although the stock of Cresud S.A.C.I.F. y A. saw only a marginal gain in the period between April 2015 and June 206, it has registered solid gains in the current quarter and is currently trading up 30.43% year-to-date. The company acquired Israeli company IDB Development Corporation Ltd. in October last year and this investment was consolidated in the balance sheet in the last quarter. However, since IDBD’s fiscal year-ends on December 31 of each year and Cresud S.A.C.I.F. y A. (ADR) (NASDAQ:CRESY) fiscal year-ends on June 30, Cresud S.A.C.I.F. y A. couldn’t report IDB Development Corporation Ltd. financial numbers during its yearly results, which it announced on September 9. For the fiscal 2016, the company reported a loss of $0.19 per share, compared to a loss of $0.2 it had reported for its previous fiscal year. During the second quarter, the ownership of Cresud S.A.C.I.F. y A. among funds covered by us inched up by one to 11, but the aggregate value of their holdings in it fell by $28.8 million to $73.27 million.
Adecoagro SA (NYSE:AGRO)
Adecoagro SA’s stock saw a stellar rally from the end of third quarter of 2015, when Brevan Howard initiated a stake in the company, till March 2016. However, it has given up a large amount of those gains since then and currently trades down 11.59% year-to-date. On May 14, analysts at Credit Suisse Group AG reiterated their ‘Buy’ rating on the stock. Last month the company reported its second quarter numbers, declaring a per share loss of $0.15 on revenue of $115.69 million versus analysts’ estimate of EPS of $0.06 on revenue of $182.1 million. The ownership of Adecoagro SA among funds covered by us declined by five to 24 during the second quarter and the aggregate value of their holdings in it fell by $57.4 million to $398.8 million.
On the next page, we are going to discuss another stock in which Brevan Howard liquidated its stake, as well as two companies that represented its long positions heading into the third quarter.