Leading Wall Street investors such as George Soros, Carl Icahn and Prem Watsa are pulling the polar ends of string, trying to decide whether to short or long the Trump Rally. According to an excerpt published in Forbes Magazine on April 3 2017, most investors are not sure if the market will continue to rally or plunge with billions at stake. Billionaire investor Soros and activist investor Icahn have in the past few months made short calls and maintained them, expecting a meltdown. Prem Watsa, on the other hand is hedging on the faith that President Donald Trump will continue to grow the economy after taking costly short positions in the past due to growing market apprehension.
Icahn whose hedge fund began losing huge sums of money in 2016 was appointed Trump’s special advisor on regulatory reform in December. Following his appointment, shares of his Icahn Enterprises short up 8%, before taking a 26% dive through the November 8 elections. In total, Icahn lost over $2.1 billion in 2015 and $2.13 billion in 2015. His long positions, mainly invested in oil interests lost 18% while the short positions gained 0.8% for an annual drop of 18% in 2016. George Soros famous for shorting the UK pound in a trade that netted him $1billion in 1992, bet against the stock markets during the election cycle, but the Trump Rally seems to have wiped out the losses suffered following his unexpected win.
Soros is currently actively trading through Soros Fund Management. His recent market moves include doubling his S&P 500 SPDR puts to 4 million and tripling his puts on iShares Russell 2000. The market rally has, however, forced Soros to revert his short position on S&P 500. Outside the stock market, George Soros is a great supporter of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party and philanthropy. His net worth is estimated at over $25 billion by Forbes. His philanthropic activities are largely focused on immigration reform, democracy, education and civil rights. In the run up to the 2016 US Elections, the billionaire investor dialed back on his political donations in a move signaling a new willingness to shape public policy.
According to a Politico article published on July 2016, Soros committed over $25 million to support Hillary Clinton’s candidacy along with that of other Democratic Party candidates and causes. The 86 year old, Hungarian born billionaire made the push after spending record breaking $27 million in 2004 in efforts to defeat President George Bush. Soros has been the subject of attacks from conservatives over his donations to support Democratic Party candidates and left leaning views. Before the elections in 2016, Soros accused the then GOP nominee for president, Donald Trump for bidding on behalf of terrorist group ISIS.