Up and Down for Einhorn's Greenlight in December

January 02, 2013   Stephen Taub

David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital had a rough time in December.

David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital had a rough time in December. The hedge fund manager lost 2.7 percent in the final month of the year alone, extending his fourth quarter loss to 4.4 percent. This was much worse than the 1.27 percent decline for the S&P 500 during the final three months of the year.

As a result, Greenlight finished the year up 7.1 percent. This was nearly half the 13.41 percent gain for the S&P 500 (16 percent including dividends) and 15.9 percent for the Nasdaq Composite.

Greenlight wound up losing money in two of the four quarters in 2012, dropping 3.3 percent in the June three-month period as well.

At year-end, Greenlight’s largest disclosed long positions were Apple, Cigna, General Motors, gold and Vodafone. Apple’s stock dropped more than 19 percent in the fourth quarter while Vodafone fell more than 11 percent. Cigna’s stock, however, climbed 11 percent and GM surged nearly 25 percent. Gold lost 2.55 percent in December but was up nearly 7 percent for the year. Greenlight also presumably took a huge beating on its high-profile short position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, whose stock surged more than 77 percent in the fourth quarter. However, it probably made money on its short position in Chipotle Mexican Grill, whose stock dropped about 5.9 percent in the final quarter.

In general, Greenlight was seemingly less bullish at year-end than it was the previous month. As of December 31, its portfolio was roughly 102 percent long and 64 percent short. As of the end of November, Greenlight’s investment portfolio was roughly 118 percent long and 72 percent short.

This exposure analysis is calculated on a notional basis and does not include gold, credit default swaps, sovereign debt, cash, foreign currency positions, interest rate derivatives and other macro positions.

Greenlight is the first hedge fund to report December and full-year results. The early data come from an investment account of Greenlight Capital Re Ltd — a Cayman Islands-based insurance company controlled by Einhorn — that is managed by a Greenlight Capital entity.

Follow Stephen Taub on Twitter @stephentaub

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