Billionaire Leon Cooperman’s Best Ideas to Turn the Ship Around

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A former CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Leon Cooperman left the banking giant in 1991 to start his own investment firm, Omega Advisors. With $5.4 billion in assets under management, Cooperman oversees an equity portfolio worth $4.58 billion as of the end of 2015. Although those billions are spread among a large number of sectors, Cooperman seems to have a preference for financial and technology stocks, which together account for 40% of his portfolio. Insider Monkey calculates a fund’s long stock picking skill by looking at the weighted average returns of long positions in companies with a market cap that exceeds $1 billion, based on the size of those positions at the beginning of each quarter. Using that metric, Omega’s qualifying long stock picks registered a loss of 10.8% in 2015, similar to James Dinan‘s York Capital Management, whose picks suffered an 11% loss. George Soros‘ Soros Fund Management, which holds an equity portfolio with roughly the same market value as Cooperman’s, managed a smaller loss with its qualifying stock picks, in the region of 3% in 2015. In this article, we’ll find out how Leon Cooperman hopes to get back to his traditionally winning ways by analyzing his top-five equity positions heading into 2016.

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Kicking off the top-5 is AerCap Holdings N.V. (NYSE:AER), which was Omega’s third-largest investment at the end of the third quarter. Cooperman sold exactly 25,000 AerCap shares during the fourth quarter, leaving him with 5.59 million shares valued at $241 million. The small sale was likely just some profit taking, as AerCap’s shares enjoyed a strong fourth quarter, despite the broader market downturn. AerCap Holdings N.V. (NYSE:AER) is set to release its fourth quarter results on February 23 and analysts are looking for $1.27 billion in revenue and earnings of $1.47 per share. Billionaire Ken Griffin also reduced his investment in AerCap Holdings N.V. (NYSE:AER), though to a much greater extent, having dumped 45% of his holding during the quarter. At the end of December, Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group held 3.05 million AerCap shares worth $132 million.

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First Data Corp (NYSE:FDC) is a new addition to Omega’s equity portfolio, one which made it into the top-5 holdings. Leon Cooperman acquired roughly 15.4 million shares during the fourth quarter, giving him a position worth $242 million at the end of December. A processor of credit-card and debit-card transactions, First Data Corp (NYSE:FDC) went public in October 2015 and the stock quickly turned south amid the general market selloff, and currently trades down by approximately 40% from its IPO price. Last week, First Data Corp (NYSE:FDC) released its fourth quarter earnings report, posting better-than-expected figures. Revenue came in at $2.96 billion, greatly surpassing analysts’ estimates of $1.85 billion, while adjusted earnings of $0.32 per share also easily topped expectations of $0.25 per share.

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