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Against the grain: Intriguing moves by top investors in Q1

The first quarter 13F filings from leading US investors have recently revealed some unexpected contrarian positions. A 13F filing is a quarterly report mandated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. It's required from institutional investment managers who oversee portfolios exceeding $100 million in publicly traded US securities. Investment managers must submit this form within 45 days after each quarter's end. So, in May, we learned about trades made in the first quarter of the year. By tracking these investments, investors can gain valuable insights into market trends and opportunities.  

Here are a few noteworthy moves that stood out:

Buffett's new tune: 

Warren Buffett, the legendary investor managing Berkshire Hathaway, is known for his value investing style. Recently, Buffett cut Berkshire's stake in Apple Inc. (AAPL) by 12.83% and sold its entire stake in Paramount Global (PARA) at a loss. In an intriguing move, Buffett significantly increased his stake in Liberty SiriusXM Group (LSXMK), the largest traditional satellite radio operator in the United States. Buffett now holds about $2.9 billion in the company as of the end of March. 

Druckenmiller’s Argentine opportunity: 

Stanley Druckenmiller, who manages Duquesne Family Office LLC, is famed for his macroeconomic investment style. This month, Druckenmiller made a bold move by purchasing shares in leading Argentine companies, including MercadoLibre Inc. (MELI), Grupo Financiero Galicia (GGAL), and YPF S.A. (YPF). In a recent interview Drucknemiller labelled Argentina as “the only free market in the world,” with his investments reflecting confidence in the country's capitalist reforms following the election of new president Javier Milei. 

Burry’s big bet on China: 

Michael Burry, the contrarian investor who manages Scion Asset Management, is best known for his role in predicting the subprime mortgage crisis. Burry’s latest 13F filing revealed significantly increased holdings in three Chinese tech giants: JD.com (JD), Alibaba (BABA), and Baidu (BIDU). These purchases increased his total portfolio's exposure to Chinese stocks from 12.26% to 22.34%. Interestingly, Burry also invested $7.6 million in the Sprott Physical Gold Trust (PHYS), making it the firm's top buy in Q1 and securing a 7.4% position in the portfolio.  

Chips too hot for Jones:

Paul Tudor Jones, the billionaire founder of Tudor Investment Corporation, is known for shorting the stock market ahead of the 1987 market crash. In a significant move, Jones reduced his stake in Nvidia (NVDA) after a substantial rally in the stock, booking considerable profits. He redirected part of these gains into a new investment in PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL), a fintech company facing challenges but with the potential for a turnaround in his view.

Are these contrarian plays a sign of what's to come? Hedge funds don't always get it right, but with the resources at their disposal and their experience, their investments can reveal opportunities to keep an eye on.  


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