When John Paulson lost a half of a billion dollars from his Sino Forest investments, it was all over the news. When George Soros lost $1.5 Billion in 6 months, it didn’t get nearly the same coverage. Instead everybody is talking about Soros’ returning $1 Billion to his investors because he doesn’t want to register with the SEC. Earlier this year Carl Icahn did the same thing but he was claiming that he didn’t want his investors to lose money when the market goes south. Everybody thought Icahn is getting bearish about the market but he wasn’t. He's one of the best performing hedge fund managers this year. His holdings gained 10% since the end of the first quarter. On the other hand George Soros’ top holdings lost more than 4% during the same time period.
George Soros’ $1.5 Billion loss didn’t make the news because he didn’t lose all that money in one place. Soros sold gold, yet the yellow metal kept reaching new highs. His stock picks performed worse than the market and on top of that he sold a large chunk of his holdings when the markets dipped. A lot of small losses added up to more than a billion dollars. Soros’ fame reached its peak in 1992 when he made $1 Billion from his bets against the Bank of England. This year his bets lost him more as he underperformed the market in double digits.
Soros’ top stock pick was AdecoAgro (AGRO). Soros had $366 Million in AGRO at the end of March. The stock lost nearly 13% since then. Soros’ second largest stock pick was Interoil (IOC) with a $302 Million position at the end of first quarter. This stock lost 21%. IOC is one of the stocks Whitney Tilson was heavily shorting. Soros' third largest position was a put option on the SPY. SPY is up 1% during the past 4 months. Soros’ fourth largest position was Lawson (LWSN) and the stock lost 7%.
George Soros lost $1.5 Billion because his biggest bets were poor and he sold them at the wrong time.