Delivering Alpha: How Did the 2011 Conference's Big Ideas Fare?

Now that the second Delivering Alpha conferencefrom CNBC and Institutional Investor is here, we thought it would be a good idea to revisit some of the big ideas from the 2011 event.


Perhaps the strongest performer was Leon Cooperman, chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, whose bullish call on U.S. equitiesturned out to be prescient.

"The U.S. equity market will be higher at the end of the year than it is presently," Cooperman said. "Stocks are the best house in the financial asset neighborhood."

The S&Pwas up 4 percent by the end of year.

Cooperman’s specific stock recommendation did even better. He advised buying Apple, which is up 69.25 percent since the conference. His other picks: Qualcomm, up 3.64 percent; Sallie Mae, up 20.33 percent; and KKR Financial Holdings, up 7.53 percent.

His worst performer was Boston Scientific, which is down 14.55 percent since the conference.

Philip Falcone, founder of Harbinger Capital Investments, also was on the money. With the economy on the wane, unemployment high and income stagnating, he said the situation would demand “value-added products.”

"There's a definitive shift today in the way the consumer is looking at things," he said. "In tight economies, the consumer always takes a different approach to how they shop. They become thrifty shoppers. The best way to capitalize on this is to focus on companies where the consumer is buying value-added products."

His pick, Spectrum Brands, has gained 39.59 percent since the 2011 Delivering Alpha conference.

Daniel S. Loeb, the activist investor-founder of Third Point, picked Yahoo!. In a presentation extremely critical of the Yahoo! management team, Loeb said he believed there is good value in the company. Since then, Loeb has helped bring down the chief executive of the company. The stock is up 8.28 percent since Delivering Alpha 2011.

Not all of the Delivering Alpha participants saw their ideas fare as well over the intervening 11 months.

Last year’s keynote presentation came from Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman, who told the conference he was making a big bet against the Hong Kong dollar.

Ackman argued that Hong Kong, which has pegged its currency against the U.S. dollar, would change its currency policy sooner rather than later. Continuing weakness in the U.S. economy, rising local inflation concerns and the March 2012 election for the city-state’s next chief executive would create irresistible pressure for policy change, Ackman said.

“Based on how Hong Kong historically has responded to similar economic circumstances we believe they will move the peg soon,” he said.

Nearly a year later, the currency peg is still in place. \(Recently, however, Joseph Yam, the former head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, published a working paper arguing for a review of the dollar peg policy.\)

"There is a need to address the questions as to whether the monetary system of Hong Kong, as currently structured, can continue to serve the public interest of Hong Kong in the best possible manner," Yam wrote in the June paper titled, “The Future of the Monetary System of Hong Kong.”

Hayman Advisors founder and principal Kyle Bass said that we were headed for a “cluster of sovereign defaults.” He urged buying options against Japanese bonds, which he said could be the first domino to fall after a Greek default.

A year later, the yields on the 10-year Japanese government bonds are still at rock bottom, 30 basis points lower than they were a year ago.