Last week we heard from three top billionaire investors, publicly, and for different reasons. In all cases, they gave us some valuable nuggets.
On Friday, Bill Ackman held a conference call defending his multi-billion dollar position in Valeant. In the face of the scrutiny, he predicted Valeant shares would trade $448 in three years — a quadruple from recent prices.
Dan Loeb wrote released his quarterly investment letter last week describing his weak performance for the year and the challenging investment climate, yet expressing his high conviction for two stocks (a good read and good game plan outlined): Baxter International and Seven & i Holdings.
And billionaire David Tepper, who famously coined the Bernanke put and sparked a broad stock market rally back in 2010, said on Friday that he thinks China needs to ease more and faster, and that could set up for a situation where the Fed has to tighten quicker and more aggressively. He likes GM as way to lever the U.S. economy. He also said he has added to HCA Holdings.
Today, at the DealBook Conference, we heard from two other influential and legendary billionaire investors, Carl Icahn and Stanley Druckenmiller. Druckenmiller said he is short euros. He thinks the currency move underway will last for years, not months. He is long Amazon and is short “a bunch of value companies that buy back stock and need cyclical growth.” He used IBM as an example of one of those companies (owned by Warren Buffett).
Icahn weighed in on the controversial Valeant (sort of), implying he was involved but not saying whether it was from the long or short side. Rather than talk specifics on stocks, he dropped some interesting perspectives on investing and his success. He admitted he wasn’t a brilliant stock picker, nor does he think anyone is. He’s in the business of finding problems and fixing them. He has famously said he makes money “studying natural stupidity.” Today he added that he’s made so much money over his career because there are people running companies that are in over their heads and have bad incentives, he makes money holding these people accountable.
What about the weak spots in his portfolio? He says “activists get caught in cycles, you need staying power, ability to buy more when they drop.”
Full disclosure, at BillionairesPortfolio.com, our subscription-based premium online portfolio service, we own Transocean (RIG) and Freeport McMoran (FCX), piggybacking Stanley Druckenmiller and Carl Icahn’s investments.