Blog: Business

Pershing Square's 2020

Bill Ackman's now managing $17b, after making 70% returns this year and 60% the year before, with his Pershing Square hedge fund. These two years, though, follow several years of losses. This shows, perhaps, how different investors with their own investing style perform differently in different market conditions.

In March, investors who are very risk-taking, of who foresaw somehow the certain quick recovery, would have performed the best. Going all in after the first week of the crisis in March would have shown the best results, particularly if you went into things like gold and mineral mining companies, vehicle companies like Ford, etc., which have all gone up hundreds of percent since then. Meanwhile, traditional investors like Warren Buffet performed really poorly in the crisis. Perhaps he didn't expect the Fed to do so much stimulus which many credit as doing almost all the lifting of the economy up until November or December when word of vaccine trial conclusions hit the press. But why didn't he? Doesn't he have access to this kind of information? Couldn't his giant investment company get basic forecast information and do the math?

Ackman didn't make his money on being wise after the pandemic, though. He made $2.6b off a single move. A low-downside-risk $26m hedge in the credit default swap index markets. Basically, he made a bet credit spreads, which were at an all time tightest levels ever, would widen going into what he saw to be a serious economic crisis. This would be caused when people would panic and sell and drive prices lower when pandemic news really hit. Notably, he did a voice call with CNBC where he sounded paniced and talked about how everything could go to zero.

His usual style is publicly pressuring management to make changes, an activist style, it is said. He made good returns off doing something like this with Canada's largest railway company a couple years ago, I think.

He's now one of the most talked-about investors of the year, along with Kathy Woods who's also had a good track record, I think largely because of her bet on Tesla a few years ago. I'd put money with him, going forward, I think only if I though he was going to do more highjinx like the panic-call short sell which made him so much.

Ackman interview on it at the end of 2020:


Sanyu Goldfish, and the return of the art market

Christie's saw about $300m for each of the summer months, and sold about 95% of what they offered, and commented the market was maybe back where it had been before March 2020. Millenials were 25% of the buyers. The main sales item is still Chinese art, but there is some interest in Western art also, they said. Sanyu's Goldfish (1930's) sold for about $8 or $9m.



Productos de Colombia

Products that Colombia ships to other places in the world. Although some of these I would have doubts they manufacture in Colombia and not in China. But still, Colombian world brands.

Imusa: Cookware and small appliances (purchased by a french company)

Victoria: Cast iron cookware

Hatsu: iced tea

Rappi: Delivery service

Aquazzura: Luxury shoes

M2Malletier: designer purses

Touché: Underwear, swimwear, pajamas

Avianca: airline (perhaps more Panamanian than Colombian)

Aguila: Beer

Poker: Beer

Bavaria: Beer, and they also buy other international beer brands and improve them

Juan Valdez: Coffee and coffee shops around the world

Café Quindio: especially in Asia and starting to expand to Europe

Quala products: Vive100, Gel ego, Savital, Frutiño, Saviloe and Bon Ice

Maaji: Swimwear

Odademar: Swimwear (expensive in the US)

Undergold: Street wear

Colombina: Candy, including Bom Bom Bum, has won international awards for innovating flavors and sugar alternatives

Arturo Calle (like Hugo Boss)

Veléz: Leather bags, boots, belts

Totto: Bags and some clothing

Ron Dictador: Liquors

Alpina: milkbased products company, probiotics, desserts like the Alpinnette

Argos: cement company

Postobon: soda, juices, sport drinks, and one of the most important companies supporting Colombian sport in worldwide events.

Grupo Nutresa: nutritional/food products

Ron Parce: Rum

Pera_d.k: clothing, alpargatas, swimsuits, jumpsuits, jeans, leggings, shorts, pijamas, some cosmetics

Iasumi: otaku/kpop/anime/e-boy merchandise, and clothing, pijamas, sweaters, jackets, jeans, shirts

PrettyYoungThings: aesthetic watch with cartoons and pop culture themes, bags, accessories

Kozidoshop: rings, accessories, bags with a punk/rock style

Nihlo: Cosmetics, hair and skin care products


Colombia is the world's second largest exporter of flowers.

Notes: Colombiamoda Fashion Week,


Soros on Palantir

Soros Fund Management, which holds 1% of Palatir's Class A (limited voting) shares, and which backed Palantir, the 'company that knows everything about you,' software used by governments, privately in 2012 through a portfolio manager who's no longer with SFM, announced in a statement this week that they had sold all their Palantir shares they weren't legally or contractually obliged to hold, and that they'd keep selling as permitted, because 'SFM does not approve of Palantir's business practices,' and that although they originally 'made this investment at a time when the negative social consequences of big data were less understood,' 'SFM would not make an investment in Palatir today.'

In 2018 Soros publicly stated that Google and Facebook are a 'menace to society' and 'obstacles to invention.'

Palantir's stock is rising steadily and has doubled since it IPO'd a few months ago.

I bought their stock this week, but I would be happy to see policy that would limit or destroy the type of broad spying and data collection they do.

Going public is a good way to turn opinion, though, whereas a private company that spies will likely be hated by everyone but the spy companies that employ them, a public company with a rising stock will inevitably create favor and support in it's stock owners. I can counter this but I doubt the majority could.