Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn gained notoriety in 2008 for publicly calling out the big financials' perilous position, notably Lehman Brothers, before the market had come to grips with the true depth of the financial crisis. He was attacked mightly for his proclamations but was ultimately proven right.
Einhorn is not primarily a short-seller but his short views gain the most attention. Please note that short positions are not disclosed in 13F-HR filings, except in the form of put options -- Einhorn's latest filing shows only one put position for, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), but his firm undoubtedly has other short positions not revealed by this filing.
Judging from Greenlight's Q3 filing, Einhorn was a net buyer, putting an estimated $1.5B to work while raising roughly $800M. Of his new buys, the three biggest bets were $240M buy in Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL), $102M in CBS (NYSE:CBS) and $116M in gold bets split between Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) and Jr. Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDXJ). Additionally, Einhorn added about $200M to an existing bet on the Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX), which makes long gold his biggest bet this quarter. I too am bullish on gold but am extremely hesitant to go long at these levels.
Unlike Einhorn (and Warren Buffett, who bought International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) near all-time highs), I have a hard time buying stocks as they go up in price. Frankly, I am not sure if this should be considered a flaw in my investment strategy -- I may miss out on gains but I avoid any painful corrections or consolidations as well, and risk aversion / capital preservation are the name(s) of the game.
Other big Einhorn adds were a tripling of his General Motors (NYSE:GM) stake and a boosting in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares by 22%. I've written in the past about the intriguing prospect of going long AAPL, but again, I hesitate to buy into stocks at highs -- and the biggest question surrounding Apple is whether the company has peaked. The jury is out, but the post-Jobs era has gotten off to a rocky start.
As mentioned above, Greenlight sold about $800M in stock (figures are estimates as it is impossible to know what prices stocks were sold). About $500M was raised by the sale of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). Einhorn also jettisoned big stakes in BP (NYSE:BP) and Aeropostale (OTCQB:AERO) and substantially reduced holdings of Becton Dickinson (NYSE:BDX), Employers Holdings (NYSE:EIG) and Semgroup (NYSE:SEMG).
View all of David Einhorn's Q3 moves in reader-friendly spreadsheet format here.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.