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Omega Sells Humana, WellPoint Stakes While Adding Bets on Gold

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May 15 (Bloomberg) -- Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors Inc. exited stakes in Humana Inc. and WellPoint Inc. and purchased exchange-traded funds tracking gold and silver during the first quarter.

Omega sold 1.3 million shares of Humana, a private provider of Medicare coverage, worth $89 million during the three months ended March 31, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission today. The hedge fund also sold a $78.1 million stake in WellPoint, the second-biggest U.S. health insurer. Both stocks have risen more than 15 percent this year.

Omega managed about $8.1 billion as of April 30, according to the company’s website. The hedge fund invested in precious metals as prices plunged during the quarter. It bought $13.9 million in shares of the SPDR Gold Trust, $4.39 million of the iShares Silver Trust and $4.35 million of the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF. Gold futures have lost 17 percent this year, while silver tumbled 26 percent.

Omega reduced its stake in Google Inc., selling 30,000 shares of the owner of the world’s most popular search engine and retaining 36,300 shares. The Mountain View, California-based company surged past the $900 level today, closing at a record with a 3.3 percent gain.

Cooperman, in an interview with CNBC on May 9, said he had recently purchased a 10 percent stake in Monitise Plc, a London-based company that provides mobile-banking services, and bought Apple Inc. shares in the low $400 range. Cooperman also said he likes insurers MetLife Inc. and American International Group Inc., as well as telecommunications provider Sprint Nextel Corp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Lam in Toronto at elam87@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net

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