Shares of Fannie Mae jumped about 2.5 percent, while Freddie
Mac shares rose 1.3 percent, on Friday after Treasury Secretary
Steven Mnuchin said overhauling the mortgage-finance system is
"very important" to President Donald Trump’s
administration, according to
Yahoo. He also said various administration officials and
congressional leaders are trying to figure out what to do with
the two mortgage-finance companies.
"We are committed to working with the House and the Senate
on having a reform package that makes sure that we promote
necessary liquidity in the housing markets," Mnuchin said
during a briefing with reporters, according to the report.
However, he stressed the issue is not a major priority for the
first half of the year.
Hedge funds like Bill Ackman’s
Pershing Square Capital Management and John
Paulson & Co. have been pushing the government to
privatize the two mortgage giants. Keep in mind that before the
election, Mnuchin and Trump held investments in
Paulson’s hedge funds, while right after the
election Ackman publicly declared himself bullish on Trump.
The government bailed out Fannie and Freddie during the
financial crisis and put them in a conservatorship. Since then
they have been sending the government a big chunk of their
profits. Several weeks after the election, the stocks surged
after then-Treasury secretary nominee Mnuchin suggested this
arrangement could change as early as 2017, making it clear in a
published interview that removing Fannie and Freddie from the
government’s grip was one of his major
Despite Friday’s move, shares of Fannie and
Freddie are down about 36 percent this year alone.
UBS raised its price target on Buffalo Wild Wings from $170
to $185, one day after activist hedge fund firm
Marcato Capital Management called on the restaurant
company’s chief executive officer, Sally Smith, to
resign, sending the stock up 6 percent.
In a note to clients, the investment bank still raised some
concerns about the company, including same-store sales growth
and what it calls "challenged industry sales trends." However,
it says planned sales and cost savings initiatives are likely
to drive earnings improvement through 2017 and 2018, "and
potential strategic catalysts exist over the coming months," an
apparent nod to the activist. Despite the UBS move, shares of
Buffalo Wild Wings Friday slipped 1.22 percent, to close at
Shares of hedge fund favorite Visa were flat on its highest
volume in 2.5 months after several investment banks raised
their price targets on the credit card processing company. The
moves were in response to the company reporting that earnings
came in higher than expectations in the most recent
For example, Credit Suisse lifted the target from $100 to
$105 and raised its estimates, citing the earnings beat. It
also pointed out that in the recent fiscal second quarter, Visa
returned to shareholders more than 100 percent of its net
income, buying back $1.7 billion in shares and issuing $400
million in dividends. The board also authorized another $5
billion share repurchase. UBS raised its target from $97 to
$102, citing solid net revenue growth benefitting from lower
incentives. At year-end, the stock was the eighth-most
popular stock among hedge funds, with at least 121
investors. In addition, 33 of them included the stock among
their top-ten holdings.
Two Sigma Ventures, the venture arm of hedge fund firm
Two Sigma, participated in the $3.5 million seed financing
of Boundless, which aims to help people navigate the U.S.
immigration process. According to
geekwire.com, the company’s chief executive,
Xiao Wang, was formerly at Amazon.com, where he helped build
and launch Amazon Go. In addition, five of the
company’s six employees personally went through
the U.S. immigration process.
Caxton Associates sold nearly 400,000 shares of
International Seaways, reducing its stake to 7.12 percent. The
company, which has a market cap of $559 million, owns a fleet
of vessels to transport crude oil and petroleum products.