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A lot of hedge funders were talking today.First the scoreboard:
Dow: 12,598, -33.4, -0.2%
S&P 500: 1,324, -5.8, -0.4%
NASDAQ: 2,874, -19.7, -0.6%
And now the top stories:
- Europe was surprisingly quiet this morning. However, we did learn that Greece would indeed hold new elections on June 17 as its current elected officials failed to form a coalition government. This ongoing uncertainty in the eurozone was no help to the markets.
- We got some encouraging housing data today. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications surged 9.2 per cent. Housing starts jumped to 717k at an annualized rate, beating economists’ expectations calling for 685k. However, housing starts are well below the long-term average. Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics poured cold water on the housing start number saying that April was a case of catching up.
- Hedge funders filed 13-Fs last night and many spoke at today’s Ira Sohn Conference. Business Insider has been covering it LIVE all day.
- Last night, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed new positions in Viacom and General Motors. See Also – The Decline Of The American Auto Industry In 4 Charts >
- One of the most notable losers of the day was JC Penney. However, T2 Partners’ Whitney Tilson said he was adding to his JCP position today. “Our view of how much JCP is worth five years from now doesn’t change at all despite some pretty grim sales numbers from last quarter,” he said from the Ira Sohn Conference.
- Pershing Square Capital’s Bill Ackman really took it on the chin today. According to recent filings, he too is long JCP. He also recently got out of Target, which rallied today on strong earnings. Ackman has yet to speak at the conference. We’ll cover it LIVE here.
- Two fund behemoths had opposing views on Apple. First, Jeff Gundlach, who favours shorting the stock, argued that people weren’t going to line up for “iPhone 87.” On the long side, was David Einhorn who noted that the half-trillion dollar company could one day reach $1 trillion. See Also – EXCLUSIVE: Apple Has Destroyed 490,000 American Jobs >
- Natural gas prices jumped 5 per cent today on no obvious news. It’s worth noting that some of the hedge funders speaking at the Ira Sohn Conference had bullish things to say about the energy commodity. See Also – PRESENTING: America’s Energy Future >
- Gold prices fell modestly today. However, it is now official in a bear market (i.e. it has fallen by 20 per cent from its recent peak). In today’s Gartman Letter, Dennis Gartman argued, “Save havens do not fall 7% in two weeks as gold in dollar terms has done.” See Also – The Truth About Gold >
- Amid all of this action, the Federal Open Market Committee released the minutes of their April meeting. There weren’t too many surprises here. However, “several” members think more easing might be necessary. So, the door to QE3 seems to be open.
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