Who’s Winning and Who’s Losing Among Billionaires in 2015 (So Far)

Some billionaire investors posted strong returns in the first quarter of 2015, while others struggled to find solid ground. Here’s a performance breakdown.

The first quarter of 2015 was rather unremarkable, market-wise. Oil prices remained low, the S&P 500 climbed +1%, and there was a whole bunch of hoopla about the Fed removing a single wordpatientfrom its rate policy statement. Not exactly anything to write home about.

As for billionaire investors and the hedge funds they run, some have had a better go of things than others, and reports have emerged indicating their first quarter performance.

Here’s a roundup of how a handful of billionaires did in Q1:

Lone Pine Does Fine, +5%

For Steve Mandel’s Lone Pine Capital, Q1 wasn’t half bad. An investor letter reviewed by ValueWalk indicates his funds returned +4-5%.

The Lone Tamarack fund was the best performer, returning +6.3% gross and +5.1% net in Q1. The Lone Cypress fund returned +5.2% gross and +4.1% net, Lone Kauri +5.8% gross and +4.7% net, and Lone Cascade +4.9% gross and +4.5% net.

lone pine q1

Despite a solid performance, Mandel and the Lone Pine team remain cautious. “The zero interest rate policies of global central banks are creating distortions in the equities markets as investors reach for yield,” the letter said. The issue: rates will eventually return to normal levels, but “when they return is the big unknown.”

As to how Lone Pine is making its money, Mandel gives nod to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Actavis (NYSE:ACT), Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) and Valeant (NYSE:VRX).

Tiger Global Takes a Dive, -5%

Lone Pine’s gains were Tiger Global’s losses in Q1. The hedge fund founded by fellow tiger cub Chase Coleman had a rough start to 2015.

Reuters reported that Tiger Global Management told clients its hedge fund lost 5.3% during the first quarter. Much of the decline came from a 2.9% loss in March.

As to where the losses stemmed from, no certain indication has been given. However, it is worth noting that two of Tiger Global’s top three positions as of the end of Q4 – 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), MasterCard (NYSE:MA) and Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) – ended the first quarter well in the red.

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Paulson & Co. Bounces, +13%

According to performance data obtained by USA TODAY from Swiss banking Group SYZ, the Paulson Enhanced fund, which bets on mergers and acquisitions, climbed +13.9% from the start of the year through March 20th. The Paulson International fund gained +6.6%, and the Paulson Advantage Fund rallied +5.5%.

This is a much-needed turnaround for billionaire John Paulson, who has had a rather choppy performance recently. After suffering a -7.4% loss last October and having assets cut in half, Paulson moved to rename one of his funds in late 2014 and change its strategy.

By the looks of it, John Paulson’s about-face is working out.

Euro Gives Bridgewater a Boost, +14%

Ray Dalio hit the nail on the head this year in identifying two big trends: the continued decline of the euro, and a delay in a U.S. interest rate boost. The result was a more than 14% net return in the first quarter from Bridgewater Associates, according to CNBC.

Dalio isn’t the only billionaire jumping on the euro opportunity. David Tepper, who said last year he was short the currency, has likely cashed in, too.

Other Billionaire Numbers

David Einhorn: CNBC reports Greenlight Capital’s main fund is down -1.8% net of fees for Q1.

Dan Loeb: Also according to CNBC, Dan Loeb’s offshore fund is up +3.3% for the first quarter.

Bill Ackman: Ackman’s Pershing Square Holdings climbed +4.6% year-to-date through the end of March.


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