David Einhorn’s Top Stocks Dominate the Market Even Though Greenlight Capital Doesn’t

Over at Institutional Investor's Alpha, Stephen Taub wrote an article with the following headline: "David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital Mostly Flat in September." In Taub's analysis, he mentions that Einhorn's hedge fund returned just 0.5% in September. By comparison the S&P 500 ETF was up 3.2% last month, and NASDAQ-tracking ETFs were up near the 5% mark. In addition to falling behind in September, Taub reports that Einhorn and his fund returned 12.2% for the first three quarters of 2013, which is 5.7 percentage points below the return of the S&P 500 index.

David Einhorn

In his last 13F filing with the SEC, Einhorn's top five positions accounted for roughly 53% of the entire value of his $5.3 billion equity portfolio. The top five were (along with their position size at the end of last quarter, September and YTD returns): 1. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): $950.7M/-2.4% return in September/-13.2% return YTD 2. General Motors (NYSE:GM): $567.8M/+5.4% return in September/+23.5% return YTD 3. Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL): $518.6M/-6.2% return in September/+55.6% return YTD 4. Aetna (NYSE:AET): $427.5M/+0.4% return in September/+38.4% return YTD 5. Cigna Corp (NYSE:CI): $360.5M/-3.3% return in September/+39.3% return YTD As you can see, the only stock in Einhorn's top five with a negative year-to-date return is Apple, and the other four have all had exceptional years. September returns have been spottier, but for Einhorn's investors, it's really only the longer-term returns that matter. For piggybackers, any investor who invested an equal amount of money into each of Einhorn's top picks since the start of the year is up 28.7%, beating the market by almost 11 percentage points. If you would have placed your bets on Einhorn's top five according to portfolio weight, your return would be a little less because of Apple's sheer size (it accounts for almost one-fifth of all equity holdings), but you'd still be up about 21% on the year. Recommended reading: Hedge Fund Research What Are Hedge Funds? The Top 10 Hedge Funds Disclosure: none
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