At the risk of jinxing it, could it be that the enigmatic, mystical force of nature known as Wall Street's mojo is back from the dead?
The clues were everywhere you looked among the top financial news headlines of the week, so here's your recap if you need to catch up. Fixed-income revenue surged 48 percent in the third quarter at JPMorgan Chase and 35 percent at Citigroup. Goldman Sachs hung another shingle on Main Street and successfully defended itself against a lawsuit from Libyan officials who contended their sovereign wealth fund lost $1.2 billion because it was duped into derivatives deals it didn't fully understand. Why, they even put an investment banker in charge of Wells Fargo!
Things were even coming up Milhouse on the buy side. Hedge funds finally got to brag about beating those annoying benchmark indexes for once as firms from Citadel to Millennium moved back into the black on the year, as Hema Parmar and Katia Porzecanski chronicled. The $150 billion Bridgewater Associates posted gains left and right in September, trimming losses in its Pure Alpha macro hedge funds and extending its year-to-date gain in its risk-parity All Weather fund to 14.1 percent.
There even appears to be low-hanging fruit on the alpha trees again -- like betting that people need water or betting against Trump's bloviations on Mexico. Quick, is it too late to cancel all those redemption notices?
no one was accused hardly anyone was accused of insider trading this week! But the hammer did come down on one of the real white-collar scoundrels out there -- the executive who was busted for selling fake Parmesan cheese.
Finally, any enthusiasts of the financial arts who are curious what real swagger and mojo look like need to watch Erik Schatzker's interview with the Omega Man himself, 73-year-old Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors. He came out swinging not only against the authorities who accused him of insider trading but also against the investors hiding behind their "fiduciaries" and yanking $3 billion from his firm.
Hey, don't forget to tell your fiduciaries that Omega’s main fund has gained 5 percent this year while its credit fund has rallied 14 percent and the equity fund has returned 7 percent, as Cooperman pointed out in the interview. The HFRI Composite Index of hedge funds, by comparison, rose 4.2 percent this year through September.
So the coveted Trade of the Week goes out to you, Leon Cooperman, for exchanging an embarrassing legal predicament for a chance to advertise the strong performance of your funds.
The Securities and Exchange Commission's case is pretty detailed, but Cooperman's "bring it on" defensive stance is so refreshingly swaggerific that it's hard not to root for him -- especially for those of us in the financial media who can't resist a juicy tale about a feisty septuagenarian fighting the Man. Unless, of course, the government prevails, in which case we reserve the right to turn on him instantly.
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