Why Apple Inc. (AAPL) Couldn’t Save Cascabel Management From Underperformance, Closure

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The under-performance of the hedge fund industry over the past several years has resulted in many hedge funds closing shop. So, it wasn’t a surprise when it was revealed that Cascabel Management L.P., a fund started by former Tiger Management LLC analyst Scott Sinclair, along with Laurence Chang is in the process of shutting down after suffering significant losses in the past few quarters. Cascabel was started in the midst of the financial crisis and had the backing of hedge fund legend Julian Robertson, who through his hedge fund Tiger Management LLC seeded Cascabel. Although Cascabel started on solid footing by generating 29% returns in 2009, it failed to generate consistent returns for its investors. After losing almost 18% in 2011, the fund recovered and was up 4.8% and 27% in 2012 and 2013 respectively. However, it again lost 17% in 2014 and according to reports was down during 2015 as well. Overall, since it was founded, Cascabel Management L.P. provided its investors a meagre return of only 5%. In this article we are going to evaluate Cascabel’s final top stock picks, revealed by the fund’s 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the March 31 reporting period. Cascabel’s latest 13F filing reveals that its public equity portfolio held value of only $42.37 million as of March 31, significantly below the $350 million it managed during its peak. The fund was heavily invested in the technology sector, which comprised more than 50% of its public equity portfolio. Cascabel heavily invested in blue chip stocks, as demonstrated by its latest top three stock picks: Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL).

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Logo, Sign on a building, brand, company, architecture

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Before we proceed to evaluate Cascabel’s top stock picks, investors need to sit back and ask themselves why a fund like Cascabel, which mostly invested in large-cap blue chip names had to shut down when most experts argue that blue chips are the best equity investments for individual investors. Research done by Insider Monkey for the period between 1999 and 2012 has shown that contrary to popular belief, the most popular large-cap picks of hedge funds in that period underperformed the broader market by seven basis points per month on average, whereas the 15 most popular small-cap picks outperformed the broader market by an average of nearly one percentage point per month. Insider Monkey’s flagship small-cap strategy has returned over 142%  since its inception in August 2012, outperforming the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by more than 83% (read the details here).

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Cascabel doubled its stake in its top pick Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) during the first quarter to 60,000 shares valued at $5.07 million as of March 31. Shares of Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) have been on a consistent uptrend, up by over 175% in the last five years and by more than 27% over the last year. The company recently priced in a $2.1 billion debt offering and shares are up marginally this year. Most of the analyst community is bullish on the stock, with an average recommendation of ‘Buy’. Currently, Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) shares are trading at $87.22, almost 10% below analysts’ average price target of $96.76. Daniel S. Och’s OZ Management is also heavily bullish on the stock, increasing its stake by 61% to 9.06 million shares in the first quarter.

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