13-F filings show new love for General Motors as Bass, Jana Partners raise stakes


A pair of big hedge-fund managers appeared to find new love for automaker General Motors  in the final quarter of 2013, if the latest 13-F regulatory filings from Kyle Bass's Hayman Capital and Barry Rosenstein's Jana Partners are anything to go by.

Note that that's an important "if." While the filings by big investors required by the Securities and Exchange Commission provide a quarterly glimpse at what the likes of Bass, Rosenstein, Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn and others have been up to, it's hardly a full picture. After all, it's been a month-and-a-half since the end of the fourth quarter. And the reported long positions could, in fact, be a hedge for short positions. Read: Things to consider before copying Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn.

So now that you've ingested that grain of salt, what have we learned so far?

According to its filing, Dallas-based Hayman Capital Management held more than 4.6 million GM shares at the end of the quarter, in addition to call options and warrants. The position isn't a shocker, as a Bloomberg report in December said Hayman had taken a stake in GM on the idea that the automaker was set to lead a Detroit resurgence.

Meanwhile, Jana Partners, which has been in the headlines recently as it pushes for changes at network-equipment maker Juniper Networks  , held more than 7.9 million GM shares, as well as some warrants, at the end of the year, up from just 400,000 shares at the end of the third quarter.

Jana also held more than 13.4 million shares of Juniper, which has rallied more than 21% since the beginning of the year.

GM, meanwhile, is up 2.1% on Friday, but has lost more than 12% since Dec. 31.

So far, this is just a taste of what's to come. We're still awaiting filings from other investing heavyweights, including the likes of Buffett, Icahn, Soros, John Paulson, Bill Ackman, and Dan Loeb.

In addition to their stock holdings, investors will also be sifting the data for bets on gold and other commodities via ETF holdings. Gold got crushed in 2013, but has been resurgent in the new year, retaking the $1,300-an-ounce level for a nearly 10% year-to-date gain.

But, as our colleagues at Barrons.com point out, it can be even more difficult to get a read on what ETF holdings mean.

In a post looking at common 13-F trip-ups, Brendan Conway recalls that a 2011 drop in Paulson's SPDR Gold Trust ETF holdings doesn't actually reflect a lesser view on the precious metal. Instead, it appears Paulson found other positions, likely in over-the-counter derivatives, to offset the decline in exposure to the ETF. There was no requirement that those positions be reported in the 13-F.

--William Watts

Follow William on Twitter @wlwatts

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