Enough with the hedge fund coverage

The obsession with the managers' positions each filing is just nonsense.

By Jim Cramer May 16, 2013 9:10AM
thestreet logo

Portfolio Account statement © Alamy Creativity AlamyHere's a visionary memo I am writing now for people in the press one year from now:


"As of today, we will no longer do 'wall-to-wall' coverage of 13F filings, because it doesn't help our viewers or our readers." The visionary memo continues: "This cottage industry of looking at filings, most of which are extremely dated, causes people who aren't sophisticated enough in the process to make wrong moves."


But, because the writer of the memo doesn't want to push back 100%, he adds, "There will be exceptions. We will continue to cover what Warren Buffett buys and sells, because his fund is not a hedge fund darting in and out of stocks. We will also, if we believe it to be the case, cover funds that seem to be struggling, like John Paulson's gold fund. But, beyond this, we are simply going to de-emphasize the breathless reporting on these matters, because at a certain point we have to conclude that it is our equivalent of prurience and nothing more than that."


I know, harsh memo. I am a harsh guy.


Honestly, though, the obsession with this stuff is nonsense. I remember having an assistant fill out these forms and thinking, "Oh yeah, I remember firing that guy and having to dump his portfolio," or, "Gee, I got rid of that position right after this filing was due, but I have to include it."


Plus, let's face it, these filings are really late -- so who knows? I am sure there are plenty of people who are back in who had left a position at the time of the filing.


What do I think makes a story here, then? I think if you can call a manager who bought or sold a significant position and that manager articulates to you why he purchased it or dumped it, then you actually have a story. Of course, this is provided that the person hasn't changed his mind in the interim, thus making the next filing different.

Barring that, even covering the stuff is totally misleading. Did Julian Robertson sell his Apple (AAPL) stake because Apple's bad? Did he sell it because he doesn't like tech? Did he sell it because he wanted Apple TV? Did he sell it because he wanted no exposure to the market? Perhaps because it was down to tag ends? Maybe he wanted a bigger dividend? I mean, honestly, what the heck do we know?


I spend an awful lot of time trying to figure out what makes sense to cover in terms of trying to help people -- and what doesn't make sense. I do it because one of the things that makes me valuable is the perspective I bring as a former hedge fund practitioner. I particularly like to highlight when something is irrelevant or confusing when you hear it.


An example of this is my campaign against risk-on/risk off, because these terms mean nothing whatsoever and it's the kind of jargon that illuminates zilch (see TheStreet). Is risk on Clorox (CLX)? Is it Freeport-McMoRan (FCX)? Is risk off bonds, perhaps the most risky asset out there? Too stupid for words. I had the conviction to call that emperor naked 'cause, what the heck? I am not scared to tell the truth and curate truth.


That's why I am sending out next year's memo in advance. I want to help people, not confuse them. So I have to get people to de-emphasize these almost worthless non-stories unless there is context, rather than it being naked speculation about motives and circumstances. Hey, look at it this way: It's one less unhelpful thing to cover, in light of the idea that there is something helpful out there -- and that is worth finding in order to help people understand, and not be confused, by the money-management process.




Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust and is long AAPL.




More from TheStreet.com

May 16, 2013 1:50PM

Yup ABS.....And you "almost always" take the bait...


I was only pulling some off-humor one liners....Kinda like, some Deklenese..


If it makes you happy you can "group" me any way you want.  Makes no diff to me..

May 16, 2013 2:17PM

You can talk about all the rest, but William Jefferson Clinton....Is one of my favorites.

He personally spoke to me in an open field, along a RR track, when campaigning for 2nd. term.

My eldest got his Autograph, shook his hand and spoke briefly with him, during 1st. campaign..

I liked and respected the guy irregardless of any failings or shortcomings..(they all have them).

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"...But the times for us, were pretty GOOD.


Your list is somewhat faulty, but I will only touch on the one that I disagree with..

Clinton DID know where OBL was at, from incoming intelligence;

Gave permission for Cruise Missiles to be fired upon him, without declaring War Act..

OBL had left just minutes before the missiles struck their targets...It had been a "covert action."

He missed him, but don't ever say there were "NO ATTEMPTS".   


May 16, 2013 9:40AM
I agree with Cramer on this one.  There's too much lag time and let's be honest, some of these hedge funds aren't just finding profitable edges in existing markets, they are creating new markets they can profit from.  If some hedge fund manager can rally some coffee growers in Columbia and convince them to sell him their product for a 3% discount whereby he can make a killing selling these contracts, good for him, but there's no way the rest of us can take advantage of that.  The filings are definitely there for a reason to prevent fraud, allegedly, but to analyze most of them after the fact and try to use that info to gain an edge is an exercise in tedious futility.  

The minutia of the day-to-day activities of a hedge fund usually aren't a reflection of anything other than 1 specific (and likely secretive) strategy being used by 1 specific guy in 1 specific circumstance at 1 specific point in time for 1 specific reason.  And half of these are probably fakes, just to keep competitors guessing.
May 16, 2013 2:24PM

If Clinton had "drone technology", I'm sure that "mission would have been accomplished" long ago and we wouldn't be argueing/discussing this today..

Maybe the same could be said about Bush also..??


But we all know on "whose watch" the job was finished. 

May 16, 2013 12:14PM

 "I am a harsh guy."



LOL......... yeah Bobo........ That is why you play little funny sound clips on your show. Mr. Harsh. Maybe you meant you are a Hash guy.......... now that would make sense.

May 16, 2013 1:39PM
Numerous attacks occurred on diplomatic targets under the George W. Bush regime presidency. Two targeted bombings occurred in Karachi, Pakistan. On June 14, 2002, a fertilizer bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber, killing 12 Pakistanis and injuring an additional 51. Since America has trouble caring for the casualties of other nations, the next example might hit harder for some audience members: On March 2, 2006, a car bomb was set off by a suicide bomber at the Karachi consulate, killing an American diplomat, David Foy, and three Pakistanis. The bombing was targeted at Foy.
May 16, 2013 9:31AM
aren't the fillings supposed to highlight or indicate trades of people in the know for insider trading fraud?
May 16, 2013 1:01PM
These housing numbers are worrisome, 19% is a huge decline, then again new permits up 14% is also huge gain.  Problem is permits do not always become buildings as not all projects become reality.  Will be watching the numbers over next few months closely as housing is one of the few "bright spots" in the economy.  Sales might be a more important number as well as prices though.
May 16, 2013 1:39PM

Let’s be serious. We all know that  that a strike like this might happen. Why wasn’t there Republican outcry and demand for investigation after Bush failed to stop the deaths of 2,996 people? No, 9/11 was treated as a terrorist attack, and the country came together.

Read more: 
May 16, 2013 1:22PM
3 more years of President Obama - monica ....do you think your blood pressure will be able to take it ?  

I mean you  already resemble 2 pigs phukin in a sleeping bag (no offense to your mom wife) --- what will you do when it's President Hilary ---

Didn't most of you righty, tea bagger, false information folks say you were going to leave the country if Obama won --- why don't you invite DoLaHo422 and MG to come live with you ? ; )
May 16, 2013 1:43PM
Lunch time ---- monica -- hope you are still around when I get back ....if you are off on your weekly drive up to Sodom & Gomorrah ...... have a good one ....

And well be careful  ..... some of those boys may be younger than you think !!!
May 16, 2013 1:40PM

 took place May 12, 2003. Thirty-six were killed, including nine suicide bombers, along with 160 injured. Nine of the dead were American

Read more: 
May 16, 2013 1:39PM

Two attacks occurred on Bush’s watch on the embassy in Sana’a during 2008. The first, an attempted mortar strike, missed and hit a school. The second resulted in 19 deaths and 16 injuries. Six of those killed were attackers.

Read more: 
May 16, 2013 1:32PM

As Tapper points out, context of the e-mail chain, as well the context of the e-mail itself, are both at issue here. According to sources, Victoria Nuland was only one of many who expressed concerns about what information, or, of more concern, misinformation, was being disseminated. The CIA had its own internal discussions (and, apparently, disagreements) about whether the Benghazi attack was pre-planned or the result of a political demonstration (which intelligence later confirmed it was not), and the FBI expressed concerns about how much and what information should be made public in light of political sensitivities and the demands of an ongoing investigation. The State Department was not in the forefront demanding “talking points” intended to protect its flank or that of a president in the middle of a reelection campaign.

While pundits and political opponents of the Administration have been busy spinning the ‘interpretation’ of the e-mail by the aforementioned media sources and others, the truth should become clearer upon reading the actual words. As Tapper continues:

Read more: 
May 16, 2013 1:30PM

CNN’s Jake Tapper has now obtained the  sent from then-Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, Ben Rhodes, to President Obama regarding how to deal with the “tons of wrong information” flooding from and between various government sources and, ultimately, into the media. This is significant because the contents of that e-mail, up to this point, has been interpreted (leaked) by certain news media with a spin suggesting the President was more concerned about saving his and the State Department’s ****, to put it bluntly, than the truth of who or what terrorist groups might have perpetrated the Benghazi attack.

Before we get to the actual e-mail text, let’s look at how just two media sources spun the leaked information on the Ben Rhodes’ e-mail. :

 that Rhodes wrote: “We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.” [... ]

 that Rhodes “responded to the group, explaining that Nuland had raised valid concerns and advising that the issues would be resolved at a meeting of the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee the following morning.” Nuland refers to then-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Whoever provided those accounts seemingly invented the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed. While Nuland, particularly, had expressed a desire to remove mentions of specific terrorist groups and CIA warnings about the increasingly dangerous assignment, Rhodes put no emphasis at all in his e-mail on the State Department’s concerns.

Read more: 
May 16, 2013 1:26PM
IRS commish ....appointed by Bush ......

Hee hee ....  don't tell monica and the tea baggers as it will confuse them ...
May 16, 2013 1:11PM

sheldon adelsons missing 100 million .....love it ≥...no war for iran for you old douche bag .....if you are still alive in 4 years you can try giving 200 mill to tub o lard christie !!!
May 16, 2013 1:10PM

The real republicans are turning away from "benghazi" in droves ...only the ones financed by the nazi loving koch brothers are still plugging away ....the real repubs realize monicas bestie DICK critiquing the Prez for "not being ready on 9/11" makes as much sense as OJ criticising chris brown for smacking around Rihanna ....
May 16, 2013 10:23AM
This article does well to justify the stupid economy.  You know the one that pays millions and millions of illegal's and others working and getting unemployment and such under the table.  None of the guberment is recognized as anything other than a nuisance by many, and I mean many Americans, citizens or not.  The resilience of this economy and those participating in it is amazing to me as they divorce themselves from these phony politicos.  Americans want to succeed,  prosper, and raise their families apart from the massive false information  generated out of DC and Wall Street. So Jim is correct but for the wrong reasons.  Misinformation from many Wall Street Pundits is not really much different from guberment Pundits.  Their goals are the same,   Get your money and ensure their positions!  Lets face it folks we are living in an era where lies and deceit have become accepted by the masses.  Yet the resilient Americans; instead of falling victim, are figuring out ways to survive and prosper under over or apart from this duo engaged in their  "self righteous" absorption of hard working peoples capital.  What most of us recognize we are lacking is strong commited Leadership both on Wall Street and DC.  And until we get it folks wilI refuse to engage as many are today.  I believe we are much stronger and more sensible today than many of these "statistics" and their authors want and attempt to make us to believe.  JMHO
May 16, 2013 1:05PM

Do you all remember when monica abs "promised" last year in a post the there would "be big news next week that would make sure the President Obama would not get a second term" .....

His fat little heart must have nearly exploded when the President won .....sure looks like he will never get over it ....
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

122 rated 1
281 rated 2
467 rated 3
722 rated 4
678 rated 5
609 rated 6
628 rated 7
464 rated 8
269 rated 9
139 rated 10

Top Picks




Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.