Ackman's hedge funds make money this year as hedges help

BOSTON (Reuters) – Billionaire investor William Ackman, who hedged his Pershing Square Capital management portfolio weeks ago to guard against coronavirus-inspired panic selling, told investors his private hedge fund is making money this year, an investor said on Wednesday.

The Pershing Square LP fund gained a net 6.8% this month, leaving it up 0.8% after fees for the year to date, the source said. The publicly traded Pershing Square Holdings fund is up 7.9% for the month and 0.2% for the year.

A spokesman declined to comment.

By comparison the average equity-focused hedge fund is down 15.5% for the month through Thursday, with average year-to-date losses at nearly 16%, data from Goldman Sachs show.

The numbers were released just hours after Ackman wrote to investors to say he had taken off the hedges and was becoming “increasingly positive” on stock and credit markets.

The moves helped inoculate his portfolio from the type of losses that many hedge fund investors are bracing to see when managers finalize their March numbers next week.

Ackman earned $2.6 billion in proceeds from the hedges and said that he had reinvested most of the money in existing holdings Agilent (A.N), Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N), Hilton Worldwide Holdings (HLT.N), and Lowe’s (LOW.N).

One week after taking to Twitter, television and text interviews with impassioned pleas for a 30-day shutdown of the United States to stop the virus’ spread, Ackman said his outlook had brightened. Moves by states and federal and Treasury monetary helped, he said.

Performance however may remain volatile, the manager warned, saying he might have to sell recently bought holdings or go back on the defensive.

Last year his fund earned a 58% return.

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Taiwan president says don't hoard, economic fundamentals good

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s economic fundamentals remain good and people should not hoard as the government can ensure stable supplies during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Thursday.

The government does not rule out spending more to stimulate the economy, and will help the hard-hit airline industry to access T$50 billion ($1.6 billion) in financing, she told a news conference at the presidential office.

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