Hedge funds buy GM in fourth-quarter; Soros takes stakes in JP Morgan, Citi

Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:16pm EST
 
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By Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Jennifer Ablan

(Reuters) - Top U.S. hedge fund managers in the fourth quarter focused on the consumer sector, with investment plays ranging from high-end auction house Sotheby's (BID.N: Quote) to big retailers Target Corp TGT.N and Walgreen Co WAG.N

General Motors (GM.N: Quote) also became the flavor of the quarter with many hedge funds as the U.S. government exited its position. This year, however, the stock price has fallen nearly 14 percent, making for a rough start for new Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra.

But on Friday, the automaker's stock rose 75 cents, or 2.13 percent, to $35.95.

Soros Fund Management LLC, founded by billionaire investor George Soros, purchased new stakes in banking giants J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM.N: Quote) and Citigroup (C.N: Quote) in the fourth quarter. Soros also boosted holdings in GM.

The quarterly disclosures of manager stock holdings, in what are known as 13F filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, are always intriguing for investors trying to divine a pattern in what savvy traders are selling and buying.

But relying on the filings to develop an investment strategy comes with some peril because the disclosures are backward looking and come out 45 days after the end of each quarter.

Still, the filings offer a glimpse into what hedge fund managers saw as opportunities to make money on the long side. The filings don't disclose short positions, bets that a stock will fall in price. And there's also little disclosure on bonds and other securities that do not trade on exchanges.

Upon request, the SEC also permits managers to omit sensitive stock positions from 13F filings. As a result, the public filings don't always present a complete picture of a manager's stock holdings.   Continued...

 
A man is silhouetted against a video screen with an Facebook logo as he poses with an Dell laptop in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic