Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Outlook: Bad & Good

Said a hedge fund Colossus: "The crux
Is the global economy sucks;
But, by legerdemain,
To be perfectly plain,
My investors make billions of bucks."

The outlook for the developed economies is so bad that it might be a banner year for one of world's largest and most successful hedge funds. So says co-chief investment officer Robert Prince of Bridgewater Associates in Westport, Connecticut. "What you have is a picture of broken economic systems that are operating on life support," says Mr. Prince to The Wall Street Journal. "We're in a secular deleveraging that will probably take 15 to 20 years to work through and we're just four years in." Mr. Prince can only hope that the new year is as bad as the old, in which Bridgewater made 25% returns while the average "global macro" fund lost 3.7%. Among his firm's winning bets on bonds, stocks and commodities were "long" positions in gold (i.e., betting that the price would rise) and a well-timed call that the euro would fall against the yen.

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