I wouldn't consider 1,537,146 shares (the 36'th largest position in his portfolio as of the end of the third quarter) "all in". Soros's big move for the third quarter was to sell a large chunk of SPY and buy a large chunk of EEM, which turned out to be either premature or wrong.
Sooner than I expected. It's been quite profitable and it seems to me that GILD and ABBV are now headed in opposite directions. (Of course, I thought this yesterday, too.)
Well, I own quite a bit of GILD at the moment and some ABBV as well. But the moment ABBV receives approval - as so many seem to expect - the risk transfers to them. They have to prove that, whatever their price level, they can generate substantial sales. This will not become clear for several weeks at least. So I will be unloading half of my ABBV on that day and the rest shortly thereafter.
Nope. Just more of the same. Added some in the IRA @100.52, sold them at a few pennies above that. We should note that the IBB, of which GILD comprises about 8.5%, was up 1.74% today. So a flat finish really represents continued selling.
...as we enter the last half hour of trading. Also, considering that the stock is going nowhere today, those December puts are sure getting beaten up. Waiting for the world to change.
Keep in mind that, according to the most recent 13f, ABBV was not at that point a major holding of Soros Management (the 36'th largest position in his portfolio at 1,537,146 shares). Nor is he always right in his choices. For example, according to the same 13f, he dropped his position in AAPL by 37% during the quarter. It has advanced about 20% from the midpoint of that quarter to date. He also sold out of CELG, which has moved up more than 18% from the midpoint of the quarter. By far the largest and most significant move in his portfolio was selling off a major chunk of SPY (about $600m worth) and acquiring a major chunk of EEM (about $900m worth). These are, by far, at 12.57% and 6.98% respectively of his total portfolio, by far his biggest positions. Whether you measure from the midpoint of the third quarter or the end of the third quarter, this switch from the S&P 500 to emerging markets has been either premature or wrong.
I am not so sure, aka. According to a site which I think is generally reliable, short sales as a percentage of trading volume only exceeded 35% in one of he past 14 sessions. By contrast, short volume for ABBV exceeded 45% for 5 of the past 14 sessions, and only fell below 35% for 3 of those days. Also, the trading pattern doesn't look like shorting to me. A more common pattern for a major shortseller would be a quick spike up which ends in a flatline, then is followed by a walk down. This pattern of quick headfake rallies at the open, followed by an equally quick dump looks more like selling to me. The reverse mirror image of ABBV price trends is also a telltale, I think. I will be heartened for GILD when I see it advancing while ABBV is declining, which it looked like it was ready to do about half an hour ago.
To the degree that insurers try to limit the availability of Sovaldi/Harvoni to the most serious cases, it seems to me that they are cutting off their noses to spite their face. There are two groups of HepC patients in the US (1) The older, shrinking group who contracted the disease through blood transfusions in the '80's, and (2) The younger, growing group who contract the disease through dirty needles, tattooing, etc. If you only treat the most advanced cases, you do very little to shrink the latter group. In fact, you are, in effect, "farming" advanced HepC cases as members of this group progress to later stages of he disease. As an insurer focused on short term profits, perhaps this is justifiable. But as a matter of national health policy, it makes more sense to attack the disease at its reservoirs in prisons, drug treatment centers, etc. and essentially wipe it out.
At first, I put the post-earnings dropoff to the MM's replenishing their inventory. But, after it went on for several days, I think you have to recognize it as organized disciplined selling. Premarket, the tape is painted with a few small trades above the previous day's close. It is then run up quickly in a little headfake rally to take out the stops of the shorts and encourage those who are awaiting the big move up, after which it is sold off into the close. Look at the chart to the right of this page and you will see this pattern repeated - even on the 18'th when it closed higher due to the European approval. We could concoct various benign theories - a hedge fund facing margin calls on a disastrous long position in oil, etc. But the simultaneous rise in ABBV suggests that there is skepticism about GILD's ability to maintain the forecasted revenue stream and market share in HepC in the face of competition and resistance from the insurers. So even the strong initial script numbers do not seem to help. My own response has been to hold my GILD positions in my taxable accounts, but hedge them with ABBV, while in my IRA I now have a larger position in ABBV and a relatively small one in GILD. (Which, after selling out at 112.80, I have tried to reestablish at 108, 104, and now, 100.80. The money I've lost climbing back in has almost completely offset the money I saved by selling out pre-earnings.) I still believe that GILD will dominate HepC treatment and will continue to try to rebuild the position. Someday Lucy may really hold the football.
If you recall, GILD recently was put on Goldman's list of "most overvalued stocks". Not overvalued in terms of earnings potential, cash flow, revenue, etc. Overvalued in terms of how much higher they were trading than Goldman's price target. So, if your stock is trading at 100 and Goldman's price target is 60, it's not that Goldman was wrong, it's that the market is wrong in not recognizing Goldman's perfect judgment. Actually, their "most overvalued stocks" list should be called "our analysts' biggest screw-ups".
Barron's did a thorough study of Cramer's recommendations a couple of years ago and concluded (1) That someone was being tipped to his buy/sell recos, and (2) the only way you could make money on his buy/sell recos was to trade against them. (short his buys, buy his sells.) Although he is consistently wrong, he has been more conspicuously wrong lately. He was stirring up the Ebola hysteria, cautioning against buying airlines, cruise lines, etc. Fortunately, this created an opportunity for me to buy AAL at 29 and CCL at 35. He (or the people who author his motormouthed spiels) know nothing about biotech. One of the great opportunities his ignorance created was when Kyrpolis was approved for multiple myeloma and he announced that this would send CELG into the tank, dropping the stock 8 bucks after hours. Realizing that the approval of Kyrpolis was actually good for CELG, I bought it at what turned out to be a huge bargain. His biotech guru on The Street, Adam Feurstein, was recently dead wrong on AVNR, which virtually tripled overnight. (PS Does everyone in New York now talk at 200 words per minute, or is Cramer possibly on some kind of drug?)
Raleigh, although it's tempting to put it down to sinister agendas, perhaps sheer ineptitude is a better explanation. I note that while the S&P is up 11.64% ytd, GS is up a pitiful 6.96%. If you are wired in with all the key decision makers and have access to unlimited capital and leverage, shouldn't you be able to at least match the averages? Apparently not. When, during the financial crisis, it became apparent that they were feathering their own nest at the expense of their clients, I think their mystique was fatally damaged. I note that since they rebounded to 184.35 on Aug. 31, 2009 ( the moment when they decided that they were actually a bank and could go to the Fed (us) for rescue) they have essentially gone nowhere. JPM has done much better. WFC has almost doubled since that date. MS, a rough equivalent, has also done much better. As has EVR, an investment bank which makes a point of not trading against its clients. Why, after all, would you want to buy stock in a company which rewards its partners royally first (even when they screw up) and then distributes the crumbs to their stockholders? A broken model. My price target is 64.
Will someone at Goldman-Sachs shake the GILD analyst and see if he/she is still alive? I have the uneasy feeling that he/she has been slumped over his/her desk for the past year in a state which has been misinterpreted as mental exhaustion but is actually rigor mortis. I note that on February 5 of this year (just 2 weeks before the big biotech selloff) Goldman raised its price target on GILD from 75 to 82. The stock was selling at 78 that day, but proceeded to slide (along with the entire biotech sector) to a low of 64.81 on April 10. So, at this point, if you bought on the strength of Goldman's upgrade, you are down more than 13 points.
As the biotechs were starting to recover, Goldman again displayed their acute sense of timing by downgrading GILD on April 14, cutting their price target from 77 to 68. The stock closed that day at 66.79, but proceeded to march up to an alltime high of 116.83 on October 31. Now, along with the 13 points you lost by listening to Goldman in February, you have missed another 50 points of gain. If you had disbelieved Goldman and sold when they were counseling you to buy and bought when they were counseling you to sell, you would have had a two-bagger over 9 months.
Perhaps they were delivering the bonus check to their GILD analyst and, after stuffing it into his/her gaping mouth, and noticing the unmistakable odor of decaying flesh, suspended their coverage of GILD. Or perhaps they're going for the hat trick.
To all those who expect that ABBV will someday have a meaningful share of the HepC market, I say,
"I drink your milkshake!"
I added shares today at 100.90 (too soon) and 100.58. But I'd venture to say that about 90% of the trading in this stock these days is phony - just the MM's passing shares from one hand to the other. I also unloaded 1/3 of my ABBV hedge. Ironic that a stock with the POSSIBILITY of a PIECE of the HepC market is doing so much better than a stock with a hugely profitable dominant share of that market. But while the ABBV partisans dream of all that as-yet-unrealized revenue, I say, as did Plainview in "There Will be Blood", ....
"I drink your milkshake!"
Keeping GILD positions in my taxable accounts, along with smaller hedging position in ABBV. Smaller GILD position in my IRA, with a much larger ABBV position. The moment ABBV gets approval, I, like everyone else, will dump it.