(Bloomberg) Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management gained 11.1% in March after making a $2.5 billion “recovery bet” on the U.S. economy.
Pershing Square, which runs $7.3 billion and has long bets on 10 stocks, is up 3.3% for the year, according to a public document posted on its website. The S&P 500 Index fell 12.5% in March and is down more than 20% in 2020.
The hedge fund billionaire increased his wagers in portfolio companies including Lowe’s Cos., Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., he said in a Bloomberg Television interview on March 23.
“That’s about the most bullish thing we’ve done,” he said in the interview. “We are all long. No shorts, you know, betting on the country.”
Ackman’s gains come as some of the biggest names in the hedge fund industry have struggled with the market turmoil. Sculptor Capital Management Inc.’s main multi-strategy hedge fund fell about 9% in March, taking 2020 losses to almost 7%, according to a regulatory filing. Overall, a wide dispersion of returns is expected to emerge as funds grapple with violent market swings, sparked by fears over the spread of the coronavirus.
Ackman made $2.6 billion on hedges he had put in place to protect Pershing Square’s portfolio against the impact of the virus, according to a March 25 letter to investors. His firm paid about $27 million for the hedges, which were made in the form of purchases of credit protection on investment-grade and high-yield credit indexes.
Ackman has called for a federally mandated nationwide 30-day shutdown rather than letting individual states implement their own measures for tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2019, Ackman’s publicly traded hedge fund soared 58%, its best year on record. That came after four consecutive years of losses.