Real Talk on James Comey, Emmaneul Macron, Brad Gerstner and Bill Ackman

May 10 2017 | 2:58pm ET

With the Sohn Conference coming to a close, we look at hedge fund manager recommendations, Ray Dalio’s reaction to James Comey’s firing and Emmanuel Macron’s victory in France. 

Hair of the Dog

SHOT: Trump fires Comey - CNN

CHASER: Before he was fired, Comey asked for more money for Russia investigation - NYT

Quotes of the Day

“I have come to know and admire James as a man of integrity and a hero. Heroes typically get crucified or martyred in the end."

That is Ray Dalio, taking to Twitter to voice his displeasure over President Donald Trump’s decision to sack FBI director James Comey.

“In the light of the situation we have in Germany, I don’t think we have to change our policies. Rather, I would like to help France lower its unemployment rate and increase young people’s chances of finding jobs.”

That’s German Chancellor Angela Merkel doing her best to sound diplomatic in the wake of Emmanuel Macron’s victory in France over the weekend.

Merkel has said she is “very pleased” with Macron’s “wonderful” win over populist Marine Le Pen. But is she ready to work with him?

That’s what Geoffery Smith at Fortune explored on Monday.

Italy and Greece are both extending their cups looking for bailouts.

Austerity isn’t working, and Macron is ready to play Santa Claus. How he does that and strengthens the euro at the same time would be one hell of a magic trick.

“The dramatic consolidation has led to … an oligopoly among the major carriers."

That’s Brad Gerstner offering his insight on why United Airlines is a good stock pick for the road ahead. The CEO of Altimeter Capital cited industry consolidation and said that “destructive price wars" have ended in the industry.

Well, that’s good, we guess.

Given the recent headlines from airports and cabins around the country, the companies have been dealing with bigger problems than the balance sheet. Public relations are now in focus, and the Federal government – eager to save airlines from themselves – have said they will bolster regulation if the companies don’t find ways to improve the consumer experience.

The price wars may have ended, but that isn’t going to stop you from getting punched in the face by a transit cop or a fellow passenger. The wars have transferred from the CFOs’ offices to the check-in desk and the economy class rows.

"Our undisclosed position [is] up slightly more than double digits."

That’s Bill Ackman discussing the performance of a mystery position.

You’re not allowed to know what it is.

But when it comes to things he will reveal, the performance hasn’t been so good. Ackman was pushing Howard Hughes again at the Sohn Conference, a company in which in invested six years ago. Meanwhile, he recently reiterated that shorting Herbalife and trying to change the political tide on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mach have led to “big losses.”

“Wall Street's biggest loudmouths are apparently out of things to say.”

Following an analysis of the investment ideas at Sohn this week, Bloomberg’s Stephan Gandal breaks down the math. His conclusion: Hedge fund managers have run out of ideas. 

Of the 10 hedge fund managers who spoke this week, half of them selected stocks they had owned for at least four years, Gandal explains.

And, of course, there’s that whole performance issue.

Wednesday’s Reading List

Marketwatch: More than 40% of Americans won’t date someone with bad credit

CNBC: Here are the stock picks from the rising hedge fund stars at Sohn moving markets

Throwback Wednesday: The Weird Hedge Fund That Prepared James Comey for His Capitol Hill Hot Seat

Efinancial Careers: Senior staff flood out of Michael Hintze’s hedge fund CQS, and secure new jobs

Agrimoney: ICO flags hedge fund role in coffee price tumble

80,000: How much do hedge fund traders earn?

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Garrett Baldwin is the voice of the The Daily Alpha, the features editor for Modern Trader magazine, and the author of The Man with The Big Red Balloon. 


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