Top Hedge Fund Managers Reveal Best Ideas At 2017 Sohn Investment Conference

May 8 2017 | 11:37pm ET

Some of the world’s most prominent hedge fund managers pitched their best ideas Monday during the 2017 Sohn Conference in New York, including Pershing square’s Bill Ackman, Greenlight’s David Einhorn and DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach. 

Ackman’s top pick this year was Howard Hughes Corporation, a real estate developer long held in the activist investor’s portfolio. Calling it “one of the most attractive times in the history of the company to invest,” Ackman cited tax efficiency and excellent locations around the U.S. for his optimism. Pershing Square is the largest shareholder in the company and Ackman is its chairman. 

Einhorn, meanwhile, touted a short position in energy services company Core Laboratories, which promptly fell to a six-week low on the comments. The Greenlight CEO believes the company’s stock to be significantly overvalued and likely to remain under pressure from weak oil prices. His fair value target: $62 per share, versus a closing price Monday of around $110.

DoubleLine’s Gundlach laid out a fairly pessimistic view of the U.S. stock market, arguing the cyclical outperformance of the S&P 500 and cyclical underperformance of emerging markets are both about to change. Accordingly, his recommendation at the conference this year is to use ETFs to short U.S. equities and go long emerging markets. 

Other managers of note at this year’s Sohn Conference:

  • Corvex’s Keith Meister revealed his fund's 5.5% stake in data communications company CenturyLink Inc., which is merging with Level 3 Communications for what Meister describes as a “game-changing” combination. 
  • Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya suggests going long Tesla’s 2022 convertible bonds, calling them an “incredible opportunity” and suggesting Tesla could own 5% of the global car market by 2027.
  • Algebris Investments’ Davide Serra recommended investors short U.K. bonds and go long Unicredit, as U.K. inflation is rising and the country’s bonds are overvalued. He estimates Brexit will cost Britain 7% of its GDP over the next eight years, while Italian bank Unicredit is dealing with its non-performing loan problems and will have improved profits as the ECB eventually normalizes interest rates. 
  • Altimeter Capital’s Brad Gerstner repeated his faith in United Continental Holdings, saying dramatic competition has spurred equally dramatic consolidation, leaving full aircraft and stable prices in its wake. 

The Sohn Investment Conference gathers some of the alternative investment industry’s top stockpickers together to contribute their top ideas in return for helping to raise money for curing and treating pediatric cancers. Formed in 1995, the Sohn Conference Foundation honors the memory of Ira Sohn, who passed away from cancer at the age of 29, and has raised $80 million globally since inception. 

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