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Hedge Fund News: David Harding, Steve Cohen, Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (ABX)

Related tickers: Agrium Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AGU), Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED), Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX)

AT&T Inc. (T), Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ): Billionaire David Harding’s 4% Yield and Higher Favorites (Insider Monkey)
David HardingRead on for five of billionaire David Harding’s Winton Capital Management’s top picks as of the end of December with dividend yields of 4% or higher. The fund’s largest holding by market value was its approximately 780,000 shares of Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED). The $18 billion market cap utility pays a dividend yield of 4% at current prices and dividend levels. As might be expected for a utility the stock’s beta is also low, at 0.1, making Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED) a decent choice for defensive investors as well.

The Henry Curse: A New Sports Jinx Hits Hedge Fund Team Owners (Forbes)
In 2002 John Henry, one of America’s most successful hedge fund managers, bought the principal stake in the the Boston Red Sox. Two years later the baseball team broke the “Curse of the Bambino,” winning the World Series for the first time in 86 years. The Red Sox won another World Series under Henry’s ownership in 2007 and later Henry purchased a majority stake in the Liverpool Football Club. But while Henry collected sports trophies, a process that started in 1999 when he bought the Florida Marlins, his money management firm tanked. Henry founded John W. Henry & Co. in the early 1980s, a hugely successful commodities trading firm.

Billionaire Jeffrey Vinik’s dividend stock picks (MarketWatch)
Vinik’s largest single-stock holding was Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (NYSE:ABX) at a position of 2.7 million shares. The gold miner’s share price has fallen 34% in the last year as market conditions have worsened; with the company paying a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share, the yield stands at 3%. Of course, given how sensitive Barrick is to gold prices it is possible that the dividend could be cut. We’d note that Vinik owned a number of other gold stocks as well. Platinum Asset Management, managed by billionaire Kerr Neilson, reported owning 2.9 million shares at the end of December.

Hedge fund manager discusses career, personal successes (The Tartan)
“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.

UBS Australia Head of Hedge Fund Sales Moves to New York (The Wall Street Journal)
UBS AG’s Australian head of hedge fund sales Thomas Anglin has relocated to New York as part of the creation of a new global sales desk, according to an internal memo obtained by Deal Journal Australia. Mr. Anglin and New York-based colleague Fred Liljewall will report to Matt Foulds, UBS’s head of Americas equity distribution, and cover hedge funds including Viking, Lone Pine, Blue Ridge, Maverick, Manikay and Tiger Global, according to the memo.

Fund Launch by ELK Capital brings Agency MBS to the Hedge Fund Market (HedgeCo.Net)
“Agency MBS are an excellent vehicle for enhancing overall portfolio returns. Unlike many other investments Agency MBS carry actual or implied guarantees by the Federal government.” said Edward Komito, the Portfolio Manager “Due to their principal prepayment uncertainty, Agency MBS carry above average rates of interest which can make them appealing to those looking for higher rates of interest income.”

Curian Adds Hedge Fund Expert (FINalternatives)
Lipper’s global head of investment research has joined Denver-based Curian Capital to lead its new alternative investments group. Gabriel Burstein, who also oversaw hedge fund and mutual fund research at Lipper, was named head of Curian’s investment strategy group.

US Debt Deadlock: A Big Fat Tail (AllAboutAlpha)
Commonfund, the Wilton, CT based institutional investment firm and advisor, released new survey data on the (rather upbeat) institutional investor expectations for 2013. Investors expect on average that their own portfolios will grow 7.6 percent in 2013. What may be more intriguing to some:…

…they aren’t as worried about Europe as they were last year. They still worry about fat tails, but the focus of that worry has moved west across the North Atlantic. Their expectations for their own portfolios are somewhat lower than their expectations for the 1-year return on the S&P 500. On the average, they anticipate that the S&P will return 7.9 percent this year. The median forecast is just a bit higher: 8 percent.

Einhorn’s fund raises stake in Cairn Energy (City A.M.)
ACTIVIST investor David Einhorn’s hedge fund has recently built up its stake in London-listed oil and gas explorer Cairn Energy, regulatory filings show. Greenlight Capital last week disclosed a three per cent holding in FTSE 250 component Cairn, though it is believed that the fund has been a shareholder for more than two years.

5 stocks that hedge funds are buying (MarketWatch)
Steven CohenBillionaire Steve Cohen‘s SAC Capital Advisors increased its holdings of Supervalu from a very small number of shares at the beginning of January to a total of almost 11 million shares (see Cohen’s stock picks). SAC now owns 5.1% of the company. Supervalu recently sold many of its supermarket brands to Cerberus Capital Management in order to focus on Save-A-Lot, its discount grocery store. Most grocery stores are currently trading at trailing earnings multiples between 11 and 15 as the industry isn’t particularly attractive. 35% of the float is held short, so many market players are bearish on the company.

Another Litigation Finance Firm Opens its Doors (American Lawyer)
Forming Gerchen Keller Capital LLC, an investment firm focused on large-scale commercial litigation, are Adam Gerchen, Ashley Keller, Travis Lenkner and Terry Carlson. Gerchen, the company’s chief executive officer, was portfolio manager at hedge fund Alyeska Investment Group L.P. and an investment banker at Goldman Sachs & Co. He earned his law degree at Harvard Law School. Keller is chief investment officer who was an analyst at Alyeska and a partner at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy and graduated from University of Chicago Law School.

SEC puts hedge fund managers on notice regarding compensation arrangements for sales (Futures Magazine)
In a speech before the American Bar Association’s Trading and Markets Subcommittee on April 5, 2013, David Blass, the Chief Counsel of the Division of Markets and Trading, put hedge fund managers and private equity fund managers on notice that they may be engaged in unregistered (and therefore, unlawful) broker dealer activities as a result of the manner by which hedge fund managers compensate their personnel and, in the case of private equity fund managers, the receipt of investment banking fees with respect to their portfolio companies.

Hedge Fund Claims Success in Board Fight at Agrium (24/7 Wall St.)
Jana Partners said this morning that it “appears” as if two of its candidates have been elected to the board of directors of fertilizer maker Agrium Inc. (USA) (NYSE:AGU). Jana, a U.S. hedge fund, proposed a slate of five candidates for the Canadian firm’s 12-member board. The official vote count is due tomorrow at Agrium’s annual meeting.