Hedge Fund News: Jeffrey Ubben, George Soros, Apple Inc. (AAPL)

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Editor's Note: Related tickers: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB), J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP)

VALUEACT CAPITALValueAct and Egerton Capital's Q1 Returns Buck the Trend (InstitutionalInvestorsalpha) While most hedge funds were most likely unable to keep with the S&P 500 in the first quarter, when the benchmark surged 10 percent, at least two funds — Jeffrey Ubben’s ValueAct Partners and the Egerton Capital in the U.K. — managed to match the index. ValueAct, a hedge fund manager with offices in San Francisco and Boston, was up 10 percent for the first three months, net of fees. This means its gross returns outperformed the index. ValueAct is known for taking a relatively small number of positions, primarily in activist situations. Last year, ValueAct was up 20.5 percent.

Apple Inc. (AAPL), Clearwire Corporation (CLWR): We’re Watching This Hedge Fund (InsiderMonkey) Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is one of the smart money’s favorite stocks, and despite its selloff in recent months, it was still one of the most popular investments among the managers we watch heading into 2013. Yes, AIG overtook Apple at the end of last year—in terms of short-term appreciative performance and popularity—but it’s still worth pointing out which hedge fund managers hold Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in their portfolios. One of the funds on our radar screen is Sirios Capital, managed by John Brennan. Mr. Brennan’s $571 million equity portfolio is primarily split between the technology, services, and financial sectors. His top five stock picks account for nearly 30% of the Sirios 13F-attributable portfolio, and range from banking to blue chips.

Chasing the hedge-fund lie (MarketWatch) If you’re the sort of investor who chases hedge funds, marking your calendar for the next disclosure of holdings from David Einhorn or John Paulson, you can quit reading. Almost nothing that follows is going to get through to you. You won’t be warned off by the facts: the reality of lackluster performance, the rigged advantages that average investors don’t enjoy, and the transparent hype. Nothing matters when you’re dazzled by the bright lights and overwhelmed by the sound of your own greed. It’s what makes the industry a $2.25 trillion one.

Frontier hedge fund investors eye Iraq (Risk) A slate of telecoms IPOs and efforts to modernise banking regulations have some frontier market hedge funds enthused about prospects for Iraqi equities as institutional investors sit on the sidelines After a decade of war and destruction, efforts to restore Iraq’s economy and financial system are gaining traction. The economy expanded 10.5% last year, more than any other Middle Eastern country, and the GDP growth forecast for 2013 is nearly 13%. The local equity market is also hitting its stride.

Cerberus Turns Up Risk Factor (WSJ) Cerberus Capital Management is braving one of the credit markets' riskiest areas. The firm, known for its purchase of Detroit auto maker Chrysler LLC during the financial crisis, wants to buy the dicey portions of securities tied to commercial mortgages, people familiar with the fund said. In an investor presentation, Cerberus, a private-equity firm that operates hedge funds, headlines its "Market Outlook 2013" section with a title stating "Bad Habits are Returning," referring to the growing use of debt in the commercial-real-estate market.

George Soros Holds Forth in Boao (WSJ) George Soros keeps a low profile in China. Beijing authorities have long distrusted him for what they see as his ability to stir up trouble both as a currency speculator and a political activist. But he showed up this week at the Boao Forum for Asia, and filled a banquet hall at lunch on Monday to deliver a speech that roamed over a vast landscape, from Japan’s recent bond-buying binge to American politics. China Real Time was there with a notebook, and recorded some of the highlights.

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