Steve Eisman Emerges as Ira Sohn Winner

Steve Eisman
Steve Eisman

The Ira Sohn Investment Research is underway in New York today. You will no doubt be hearing a lot about the forecasts and strategies of some of the biggest names in investing.

But how prescient are these guys?

My friend Lawrence Delevingne at AR magazine went back to last year’s conference to see how their recommendations faired over the last year.

Steve Eisman, of Frontpoint Financial Services, emerged as a big winner with his short call on for-profit education. All of the stocks he named are down—most are down double digits.

David Einhorn, of Greenlight Capital, faired the worst. Each of his calls would have resulted in double digit losses. Particularly painful was his short forecast for Moody’s and McGraw-Hill Companies, which owns Standard & Poor’s. Moody’s is up 78.39 percent since the last Ira Sohn conference. McGraw-Hill is up 48.83 percent.

David Tepper of Appaloosa Management’s bullish call on Bank of America turned out badly. It’s down 25.58 percent over the year. (Delevingne doesn’t tells us how Tepper’s credit market calls—bullish on commercial mortgage-backed securities and AIG subordinated debt—turned out.)

Of course, these results aren’t necessarily indicative of how the hedge funds themselves are doing. We don’t know the prices or size of their positions, or whether they kept the positions through the entire year. What’s more, some of the forecasts may still turn out to be right—or wrong. No one said the positions must perform in one year.

But it does tell us how an investor listening to the conference would have done if he or she had bought or shorted the positions of the speakers. Listening to Eisman would have made a lot of money over the past year. Listening to Einhorn or Tepper wouldn’t have worked out so well.

So who should you listen to this year? Well, as they say, past performance does not guarantee future results. Maybe this year will be Einhorn’s.


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