After Einhorn's Lehman pan last year, the Ira Sohn Research Investment Conference is sure to be a madhouse this time around. Tomorrow. Time Warner Center. $2,000 a head. Don't whine. Times may be tough but you are getting some hot hedge fund manager action for the price of a weekend supply of mid-budget hooker and iffy (but moderately effective) blow. Your favorites (and ours) will all be there. Einhorn is attending again, along with Ackman and Chanos. Our guess (and that of New York Magzine)? Good time to go long SKF (after consulting with your professional advisors, of course).
What could possibly happen this year to rival last year? Here's our wild guess -- another assault on the financials. Because despite the carnage of the last year, there remains a great deal of enmity toward the banks. Hedge-fund guys don't much care for the way they've gotten to bend the rules to their own advantage, like with that short-selling ban. The question is, if an investor is brave enough to restart this war, what's the most suitable target?
At this point, going after a crippled giant like Citigroup or Bank of America is cheap sport. Sure, both stocks have enjoyed an improbable run-up in recent weeks, but seriously -- does anyone actually believe in the health of these institutions? Intellectually, it's an easy case to make that they're screwed, and Ackman has already made it. The big regional banks seem equally screwed, but who can even keep their names straight? Fifth Third? What? Who?
Making a lasting impression would mean going after one of the financial untouchables, of which, as far as we can tell, there are but three: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Wells Fargo.
Goldman? GOLDMAN? Fortunately, we've stocked up on canned goods and ammo and all that time our last intern spent digging the basement shelter looks like it might pay off.
Hedge Funds Sharpen Blades in Preparation for Annual Conference [New York Magazine]