Pershing Square Capital Management CEO Bill Ackman minted a multibillion-dollar profit as coronavirus fears tanked US stocks.
The hedge-fund billionaire turned a $27 million position into $2.6 billion through defensive hedge bets, a Wednesday letter to investors said. The profit offset losses elsewhere in the firm’s portfolio and helped Ackman’s public fund land a 7.9% gain in March through Tuesday’s close, The Wall Street Journal reported. The S&P 500 slid 17% over the same period.
Pershing Square used credit protection on investment-grade and high-yield bond indexes to land the massive profits. The assets rise in value as the odds of corporate defaults increase. As measures to combat the virus outbreak cut into economic activity, corporate bond ratings tanked, and investors feared the worst.
The fund was able to purchase the investment vehicles about a month ago “at near-all-time tight levels of credit spreads,” so the risk of loss was “minimal at the time of purchase,” Ackman wrote.
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The hedge fund began liquidating its protective bets last week after unprecedented action from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department shifted sentiment toward corporate credit health. Ackman fully exited the position on Monday, the same day the US central bank announced it would…