Last month, John Paulson sat down with his investors and told them he wouldn’t personally be putting any more money into his worst-ever investment thesis, gold. This pronouncement came several months after Mr. Paulson made clear he didn’t want to talk about the shiny stuff anymore, since all of his other investments are doing swimmingly and because he is basically the only person still losing money on his chastened-but-still-extant belief that his gold investments, while down 60%-plus this year, will richly reward him when people realize that all the Fed has been doing for the last five years is setting us up for one hell of an inflationary headache.
Well, if he’s going to keep his new pledge, J.P.’s going to have to ignore what must look to him like some pretty attractive prices for the precious metal: After looking briefly like it had maybe kinda sorta hopefully turned a corner, gold went and had its worst November since the Carter administration. Read more »
Hedge fund manager John Paulson, known for huge gains followed by heavy losses in some of his funds, extended his portfolios’ winning streak in September, leaving all of them with double-digit gains for the year, a person familiar with the numbers said on Monday…Paulson told investors that his Recovery Fund gained 4.2 percent in September and is up 37.8 percent for the year, while the Paulson Enhanced fund gained 3.1 percent and is up 25.6 percent for the year, the source said. Even his Advantage Funds, the firm’s biggest before suffering heavy losses in 2011 and 2012, were up: The Advantage Fund gained 0.9 percent to be up 11 percent for the year, while the Advantage Plus Fund gained 1.2 percent and is up 15.8 percent. [Reuters]
A couple of ASU grads come up with a golden idea worth celebrating. It’s called 24 Karat Wines, a sparkling wine laced with gold. We were there for the big launch. “Tonight people are going to see what me and my partner Keagan love,” says Nicholas Cower, CEO of 24 Karat Wines. What they love is this sparkling wine created by the pair. “We looked at why do people go out and drink champagne, why do people go out and they buy these bottles of champagne. It’s the celebration it’s the fun it’s the excitement.” “This is the first product of its kind. American-made, we’re home grown Arizona boys.” And these Arizona boys see gold in their wine, literally. 24 Karat is made with flecks of gold, shimmering in each glass. “It’s the first, the first California sparkling wine with real 24 karat gold in it.” 24 Karat Wine is available in Tempe only. It’s a start off point for what they hope will become a huge phenomenon. [Fox10, Related re:John Paulson's documented loveof all things gold]
If you wanted to short the housing market in 2007 you could just buy protection on mortgage-backed securities via a synthetic CDO, and that’s what John Paulson did in the Abacus deal, for which Goldman Sachs and Fab Tourre got in trouble. But the problem with that is that buying protection costs money; just for instance the super-senior protection in Abacus would run you about 50bps, or around $4.5 million a year on the $909mm notional that ACA Capital wrapped.1 And who wants to throw away millions of dollars a year waiting for the housing market to crash?
So another way to short the market is to buy a lot of protection on senior tranches of CDOs (cheap because: what are the odds that the housing market will crash?) while also selling a little protection on junior tranches (expensive because the odds that there’ll be some defaults are higher). If you do this, you can have a positive carry (you get paid as more each year on the protection you sold than you pay on the protection you bought), but you can make just about as much money if the housing market craters and there are massive defaults. (The tradeoff is that if performance is mediocre, with some defaults, then you lose money on the junior protection you sold and don’t make it back on the senior protection you bought.)
This second trade is a very stylized description of what Magnetar did,2 in another CDO deal for which JPMorgan got in a bit of trouble. Less than Goldman, though! Read more »
In testimony Wednesday, Paolo Pellegrini, the former Paulson & Co managing director, said he made clear to ACA Capital Holdings Inc that Paulson wanted to bet against the deal.
“As I told all collateral selection agents, we were interested in shorting a CDO, shorting subprime securities in a CDO,” said Pellegrini, one of the architects of hedge fund manager John Paulson’s bet against subprime mortgages in 2006 and 2007. …
Pellegrini, one of two people who worked on Paulson’s strategy to take the stand so far, testified Wednesday he believed he told the principal employee at ACA working on Abacus, Laura Schwartz, about Paulson’s strategy over drinks during a “shindig” for people in the CDO industry.
“I think there was some discussion of the portfolio and what we were trying to accomplish by shorting the market,” he said.