Pershing Square Gaining While Economy Stuggling

June 9, 2020 James Heinsman Hedge Fund News

Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management has been enjoying enviable growth just when the economy has been struggling with historically high unemployment and an unprecedented lockdown of people and commerce during the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

Public and private funds have seen double-digit growth between 22 and 27 percent so far this year, easily surpassing the Standard & Poor’s 500 index as well as the average hedge fund.

Ackman explained to investors on a conference call that his portfolio includes companies that can better withstand unpredictable events with serious consequences. He sold off his stake in Blackstone Group, Berkshire Hathaway, and Park Hotels & Resorts so to use the cash in better places.

In place of those shares, Ackman took stakes in Starbucks, Restaurant Brands International, Agilent Technologies, Lowes Cos Inc, and Hilton Worldwide Holdings. He said these large companies have the best technologies in place to make it through the crisis relatively unscathed.
The successful 2020 comes after a record 2019 where Pershing realized a 58.1 percent return, its best year since its founding in 2004.

Pershing Square was one of the first to close down its Manhattan office and have its traders and other staff work from home. When everyone else began to work from home, Ackman saw that as a signal that long-delayed home improvement projects were about to get started and ran to buy shares in Lowe’s.

“We bought Lowe’s at $84 a share and it was the bargain of a lifetime,” he said with the stock now at $127.62.

Pershing Square, William Ackman,

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