Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 | 2:50 PM ET

After a rough year Bill Ackman is the comeback kid

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
Bill Ackman
Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Bill Ackman

What a difference a year makes.

In 2013, Bill Ackman was accused of losing his golden touch. His investment in J.C. Penney was called a "fiasco." His Herbalife short famously turned against him when fellow activist investors Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb took the other side of the trade. Pershing Square Capital Management's assets fell as performance was barely positive into the fall.

This year is different. Late Monday, news broke that Ackman and Valeant Pharmaceuticals were offering to buy Botox maker Allergan. Shares of Allergan, of which Pershing Square owns 9.7 percent, immediately gained about 23 percent.

That's not the only winner: Every Ackman investment appears to have made money this year, including Beam, the Herbalife short and Platform Specialty Products Corp. Nutritional supplement maker Herbalife, for example, has been hit by reports of several government investigations into the company, which has helped push the stock down about 26 percent so far in 2014.

The Pershing Square International fund is up 11.1 percent net of fees in the first quarter alone, according to a report by the HSBC Alternative Investment Group.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 | 2:44 PM ET

Rich vs poor: Where Americans see opportunity

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Individual investor comeback?
CNBC's Jeff Cox discusses some of the clues he found that suggest when the individual investor is going to start getting into the market.

When it comes to investing, those at opposite ends of the economic spectrum are going in pretty much completely different directions.

The more affluent in society making above $75,000 now believe real estate offers the best investment choice—even better than stocks and gold and a whole lot better than bonds, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Conversely, those at the lowest end of the economic spectrum, making less than $30,000, believe gold is their best investment, easily beating a stock market that gained nearly 30 percent over the past year and 180 percent since the March 2009 recession low.

Some of the reason for the disparity is fairly common sense—it's easier for someone with limited funds to buy gold than it is real estate and even stocks.

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  Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 | 1:15 PM ET

How one trader made $280,000 overnight on FURX

Posted By: CNBC.com staff
Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images
Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

One of the hottest topics of market conversation Tuesday was Bill Ackman's move to join Valeant in a takeover bid for Allergan. But there also was another huge move in pharma overnight that didn't garner near the attention.

One astute trader picked up $250,000 overnight by buying options in Furiex Pharmaceuticals, which develops drugs used in compound development and collaboration and saw its shares spike, according to an analysis by Andrew Keene of KeeneOnTheMarket.com.

Read how the trade broke down here.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 | 11:19 AM ET

Hedge funds still loving Japan despite losses

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
The evolving hedge fund Japan trade
CNBC.com Enterprise Reporter Lawrence Delevingne discusses how hedge funds have invested in Japan recently.

Hedge fund managers are still bullish on Japan despite a painful start to the year.

After large gains in 2013, the Nikkei 225 stock index is down nearly 11 percent this year. The Japanese yen, which many investors were betting against, has also appreciated almost 3 percent versus the U.S. dollar.

Those broad moves have cost investors: The average Japanese stock-focused hedge fund fell an estimated 5.75 percent over the first quarter, according to data from Simplify, which tracks performance.

Hedge funds appear to be unfazed by the bad news.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 | 10:12 AM ET

Morning six-pack: What we're reading Tuesday

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Bill Ackman
David Grogan | CNBC
Bill Ackman

Happy Tuesday. Keep your eye on the prize and watch out for the activist investor looking to snag your Morning Six-Pack.

One of the kings of activist investors, Bill Ackman, is in on the prowl and about to land perhaps the biggest fish of his career as Valeant gets set to make a major move on Allergan and all of its Botox and breast implant glory. (Wall Street Journal)

Alan Mulally, whose reign at Ford will be remembered for the way he demonstrated that you can run a successful auto company without needing the government to hold your hand and pay your bills, is expected to leave sooner than expected. (Economic Times)

»Read more
  Monday, 21 Apr 2014 | 2:53 PM ET

Loeb to Sotheby's: My directors are better

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
Dan Loeb to nominate three for Sotheby's board.
Simon Dawson (L) Mike Clark (R) | Getty Images
Dan Loeb to nominate three for Sotheby's board.

Dan Loeb continued his battle against Sotheby's with a new letter promoting Third Point's board nominees over the art house's slate.

"We are convinced that having an owner's perspective in the boardroom yields better results, that this board is in dire need of fresh insights, and that our candidates are more qualified than the company's emissaries we are seeking to replace," Loeb wrote in the letter released Monday.

"We are confident that adding three shareholder voices to this twelve-person board will do more to improve Sotheby's long-term growth and increase its share price than would rubber-stamping the company's latest set of hand-picked nominees."

Shareholders will formally vote on the new board at Sotheby's annual stockholder meeting May 6, but proxy cards were sent at the end of March, prompting Third Point to position itself early. Institutional Shareholder Services, which advises stock owners, will likely release its recommendation on the fight this week.

Third Point's director nominees are Loeb himself, plus turnaround expert Harry Wilson and jewelry executive Olivier Reza. Sotheby's nominees are private equity advisor Jessica Bibliowicz, retail mall developer Robert Taubman, and restaurateur Daniel Meyer.

»Read more
  Monday, 21 Apr 2014 | 2:24 PM ET

Investors scared to death of stocks: Bullish sign?

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Fighting investor fear
CNBC's Jeff Cox discusses why investors are still afraid of the market.

The latest evidence that some people just can't get enough comes from investors who say they're still afraid of the stock market—despite a stunning 180 percent gain over the past five years.

In a survey by Bankrate.com released Monday, fully 73 percent of respondents say they're no more inclined to put capital to work in equities than they were a year ago, even with a low rate of returns on other investments like savings accounts and certificates of deposit.

The number is consistent with the 2013 and 2012 surveys—which saw readings of 76 percent—and comes even though the S&P 500 stock index surged 29 percent last year.

»Read more
  Monday, 21 Apr 2014 | 10:29 AM ET

Morning six-pack: What we're reading Monday

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Runners get ready before the Boston Marathon in Boston Commons, April 21, 2014.
Getty Images
Runners get ready before the Boston Marathon in Boston Commons, April 21, 2014.

Happy Easter Monday. May your basket overflow with marshmallow Peeps.

And may Boston be alive Monday with swiftness and safety as the first post-bombing Boston Marathon commences. (Boston.com)

This writer in a previous lifetime wrote many a story about cellulosic ethanol and how cornstalks and other such things could be converted to fuel, which a new study says contributes more greenhouse gases than gasoline. (redOrbit)

»Read more
  Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 | 1:00 PM ET

Historically miserable earnings cycle may not matter

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Great growth expectations
Are economic growth expectations too high? CNBC's Jeff Cox explains.

Talk about disregarding bad news: Investors have been all but ignoring a fairly miserable earnings season as hopes proliferate that in the end it's only a blip on the profit radar.

The market actually has risen modestly during a reporting period in which profits are up a scant 2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, and expectations among analysts remain that the overall season could see a net loss for companies on the S&P 500.

In fact, Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial, pointed out in a recent report that the total earnings "cycle"—from the recession trough in the second quarter of 2009 to the current level—is the weakest in 55 years, dating to the late days of the Eisenhower administration.

But like many of his Wall Street brethren, Kleintop believes the current low is only a temporary lull before a stronger economy free of winter's clutches triggers stronger corporate profits.

»Read more
  Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 | 12:30 PM ET

Luxury rental market surging in metro New York

Posted By: Stephanie Landsman
Luxury rental boom ... in Jersey
CNBC's Stephanie Landsman discusses how the luxury rental boom isn't confined to New York City and its boroughs, but that developers are seeing new opportunities in New Jersey.

After renting a two-bedroom apartment on New York City's Lower East Side for several years, 32-year old Lea Ann Willett and her husband craved more amenities and space, and floors that didn't creek.

Buying a condo in Manhattan wasn't an option. The Willetts wanted to avoid dealing with co-op boards and the general risks associated with owning in the New York market.

So the couple branched out and decided to rent a two-bedroom apartment in a brand new high-end building in Brooklyn Heights—equipped with a washer and dryer in each unit, stainless steel appliances and a virtual doorman. Plus, the subways and an Equinox gym are just steps away.

"It is such an investment in your health and well-being," said Willett, who loves the idea of being the first person to live in the apartment. "It definitely felt like the right move."

»Read more

About NetNet

  • NetNet is where you'll find the low-down and the high jinks of Wall Street. It's the place for insider stories, trader gossip, and tales of the foibles of the moneyed crowd and the culture of finance.Wall Street news and commentary served fresh all day long.


  • Jeff Cox is finance editor for CNBC.com.

  • Lawrence Develingne

    Lawrence Delevingne is the ‘Big Money’ enterprise reporter for CNBC.com and NetNet.

  • Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of CNBC's 5pm ET show "Fast Money."

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