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Hedge Fund News: Jeffrey Vinik, George Soros & BlackRock Inc. (BLK)

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VINIK ASSET MANAGEMENTHedge-Fund Star Gets a Hip Check (WSJ)
Jeffrey Vinik‘s Tampa Bay Lightning are struggling, but the performance of his National Hockey League team isn’t the only worry for the veteran stock-picker. Investors have asked to pull around $1.5 billion from his hedge-fund firm after a period of poor performance, according to people briefed on the matter. The withdrawal requests amount to around 18% of the roughly $8 billion that was run by Vinik Asset Management.

Systematic hedge fund group Cantab Capital names Dr Matthew Killeya and Dr Genia Diamond partners (Opalesque)
Cantab Capital Partners, the systematic global macro manager has announced that Dr Matthew Killeya (Senior Scientist) and Dr. Genia Diamond (Head of Business Development), have been named partners in the firm. The announcement is in recognition of Dr. Killeya’s and Dr.Diamond’s contribution to Cantab’s business success and growth. Genia has lead the Investor Relations team that has overseen Cantab’s assets increase fivefold to USD 5,3 billion since 2011.

Hedge funds track equities to record level in Q1 2013 (HedgeWeek)
Hedge funds extended gains in March to conclude the first quarter of 2013 at record levels, tracking US equity performance, which also advanced to close the quarter at new highs. The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index gained 1.2 per cent in March bringing the 1Q13 gain to 3.9 per cent, with top contributions from fixed income-based relative value arbitrage and equity hedge and strategies, as reported by HFR.

UCITS hedge funds underperform their non-UCITS rivals… Lyxor Asset Management launches Lyxor/Canyon Credit Strategy fund… (HedgeWeek)
Lyxor Asset Management this week announced the lauch of the Lyxor/Canyon Credit Strategy Fund, a UCITS-compliant fund designed to provide investors with access to Canyon Capital Advisors LLC’s event driven and credit-oriented strategies across a variety of asset classes. It is the first UCITS strategy of its kind to feature on Lyxor’s Alternative UCITS Platform. The fund offers both diversified and differentiated exposure. With respect to diversified exposure, the fund has the ability to invest in certain special situation securities such as select liquidations, high yield and distressed corporate bonds, equities, convertibles and agency residential mortgage-backed securities.

Hedge fund manager discusses career, personal successes (TheTartan)
“A Conversation with David McCormick,” a lecture hosted by the University Lecture Series, provided advice and career tips to a large crowd of students and faculty in Baker Hall’s Giant Eagle Auditorium last Monday. McCormick is the former U.S. Treasury under secretary for international affairs in the Bush administration and current co-president of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world. Bridgewater Associates manages $130 billion, according to its website. McCormick fielded questions from Heinz College dean Ramayya Krishnan and, later in the talk, from the audience.

Zen Capital Management Significantly Outperforms Peers in March (NewsMaker)
The Zen Capital Management Global Fund SP rose 1.46% (gross) in March, significantly outperforming the HFRI Macro Systematic Diversified Index which rose 0.84%. Daily portfolio volatility was approximately 20% lower than the volatility of the S&P500 over the same period. Managing Director Gregory Carroll said “We are extremely happy with our March results. Not just because of the magnitude of the return, but because our returns came from a broad range of instruments across a broad range of markets. Our GBP and JPY shorts performed well. So too did our long Ethanol, Gas and Cotton positions. US Healthcare also delivered strong gains”.

DePaul students sweep hedge funding competition (DepauliaOnline)
Five DePaul students have been invited to the next round of Battle Fin, a hedge funding competition that pits potential hedge fund managers against each other in a real-time competition with real money. Competitors must come up with a viable strategy for working with the hedge funds which are judged by experts. Teams with the most effective strategies make it to higher and higher levels in the competition and ultimately create solid careers for themselves.

Beware of Index Funds That Aren’t (WSJ)
Index funds aren’t always what you think they are. And your innocence could cost you. To most investors, of course, index funds are passive investments, providing returns that basically mirror the market they are designed to follow. They charge low fees and carry no hidden costs. But the old definition is starting to change. Unlike simpler, earlier generations of index and exchange-traded funds, new variations are morphing into products that risk putting many investors afoul of the old rule about not investing in things you don’t understand.

End is near for nasty proxy fight between Agrium and Jana partners (CalgaryHerald)
To Agrium Inc., Jana Partners LLC is a hedge fund Hell-bent on breaking up the company, selling the parts and making a quick buck. To Jana, Canadian fertilizer giant Agrium (TSX:AGU) is a chronic underperformer that has mismanaged its business, lacked proper board oversight and been stubbornly resistant to change. Months of name-calling and accusations will come to an end one way or another on Tuesday, when Agrium holds its annual general meeting and shareholders vote on whether to elect Jana’s five nominees to the company’s 12-member board.

Out of the Spotlight, a Lucrative Payday (NYTimes)
OUR annual list of highly compensated executives includes some astonishing salaries. But they are not necessarily the richest compensation packages out there. …Four of the largest private equity firms — the Carlyle Group, Apollo Global Management, the Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company — went public in recent years, a move that required them to begin disclosing executive pay. Their executives don’t show up on our main list because we look only at companies with total revenue of more than $5 billion. Unlike executive pay at most corporations, much wealth here is derived from their ownership stakes in these firms, and, each year, they get payouts based on their stakes.

Hedge Funds Cut Bets Most Since ’08 as Prices Slump: Commodities (Bloomberg)
Hedge funds reduced bets on a commodity rally by the most since 2008 as rising supplies of everything from copper to sugar and slowing U.S. growth drove prices to the biggest slump in six months. Speculators cut net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 31 percent to 468,780 contracts in the week ended April 2, the most since October 2008, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Investors are betting on a decline in silver for the first time and have record bearish positions in copper and sugar. Corn wagers dropped the most since June 2010, leading the biggest ever decline in agricultural holdings.

Macy’s, J.C. Penney set to resume trial over Martha Stewart (Reuters)
Macy’s Inc and rival J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) are due back in court Monday in their battle over Martha Stewart home goods after a month-long mediation effort appeared to have failed. The trial is set to resume in New York state court over whether Macy’s has an exclusive right to sell certain Martha Stewart products. The legal battle has hampered a key part of turnaround plans for J.C. Penney, which opened the first of its in-store boutiques on Friday with only some of the Martha Stewart goods it had originally planned..

Mariner Hires BlackRock’s Pellicciaro for New Hedge Fund (Bloomberg)
Mariner Investment Group LLC, the $10 billion hedge-fund firm founded by William Michaelcheck, hired Eric Pellicciaro from BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) to manage a global macro portfolio of a new multistrategy hedge fund. Mariner plans to hire several managers to run various strategies for the Mariner Incubation Fund and will invest an initial $50 million to $100 million in each portfolio, according to a statement today from the New York-based firm.

The Cool Kids Aren’t Starting Hedge Funds Anymore (BusinessInsider)
For the past few decades, hedge funds have been the sexiest way to make money on Wall Street — you can go long or short, fill them with “exotic” products, and lever up as you wish. But it looks like they’re losing their edginess to (are you ready?) mutual funds. Just stay with us here. These aren’t your father’s average long-only mutual funds. These are “alternative mutual funds.”

Macro Hedge Funds Still in a Funk (InstitutionalInvestorsAlpha)
Did macro hedge funds miss their golden opportunity in the first quarter?

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