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Hedge Fund and Insider Trading News: Steve Cohen, Crispin Odey, Jana Partners, Verrica Pharmaceuticals Inc (VRCA), Easterly Acquisition Corp (EACQ), Progressive Corp (PGR), and More

Steve Cohen Says Returns Won’t Be Very Good Over the Next Two Years, Bear Market Possible (CNBC)
Billionaire Steve Cohen sees the U.S. economy slowing and predicted a bear market is coming as early as 18 months from now, according to a report by the Financial Times on Wednesday. “I don’t think returns over the next two years are going to be very good. If the market hangs in there, there’s just going to be marginal returns,” Cohen reportedly said at an event in New York. Cohen said he sees the U.S. economy as “late cycle,” according to the FT. “I’m not comfortable, I’m not uncomfortable, I’m somewhere in the middle,” Cohen reportedly said.

Jana Partners Sharply Increases Gold Mining ETF Holdings in Third Quarter: Filing (Reuters)
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jana Partners LLC more than quadrupled its investment in precious-metal mining exchange-traded funds during the third quarter of 2018, a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 13F filing showed on Wednesday. Lead by activist investor Barry Rosenstein, Jana Partners increased its holdings in the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF from 180,000 shares worth $4.02 million during the second quarter to 989,052 shares worth $18.32 million in the third quarter.

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Odey Says May Got ‘Rolled Over by Brussels’ in Brexit Deal (Bloomberg)
Theresa May “got completely mowed down and rolled over by Brussels” while negotiating a deal to leave the European Union, according to Crispin Odey, a hedge fund manager who had been a vocal supporter of Brexit.

Ray Dalio’s Faith in Gold Is Unshaken (Bloomberg)
(Bloomberg) — Not even gold’s second quarterly straight decline was enough to shake billionaire hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio’s confidence in gold. Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates maintained its holdings in SPDR Gold Shares, the largest bullion-backed ETF, at 3.9 million shares, and its stake in iShares Gold Trust, the second-largest, at 11.3 million shares in the third quarter, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. Bridgewater stayed loyal to bullion even amid an investor sell-off that sent assets in bullion-backed ETFs tracked by Bloomberg tumbling by 2.79 million ounces in the third quarter, the first such decline since the end of 2016.

Eddie Lampert’s Hedge Fund Lambasts Sears Creditors for ‘Highly Aggressive’ Plan to Kill Off the Company Once and for All (Business Insider)
Now ESL Investments, the hedge fund led by Sears chairman Eddie Lampert, is hitting back, calling the creditors’ demands “highly aggressive” and accusing them of trying to profit off Sears’ demise. In a bankruptcy filing late Tuesday, ESL said liquidating would force tens of thousands of employees to lose their jobs. “How can it be that liquidation is advocated so quickly…?” the filing by ESL reads. “It appears that the explanation may be that two of the UCC’s members, Simon Property Group and Brixmor Property Group are landlords of many Sears stores, both of which have a vested interest in seeing Sears liquidate without regard to the interests of Sears’ other stakeholders.”

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