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Following J. Paulson: Some Mortgage Securities & Banks

March 13, 2009 Equity Trading No Comments

From the latest print edition of The Economist:

Just as markets used to hang on Mr Soros’s every move, they are now keen followers of Mr Paulson. He does not see the economy reaching bottom this year and is still a net short-seller of financial firms. More encouragingly, he has started buying up bombed-out mortgage securities. The number-crunching that told him subprime-linked paper was overvalued now suggests that some previously AAA-rated tranches are a bargain. He talks of distressed debt—mortgages, leveraged loans and the debt of bankrupt firms—as a $10 trillion opportunity.

At some point, his “number-one focus” will be to provide equity to recapitalise sick but viable banks. He is already dipping his toe in: his latest vehicle, the Recovery Fund, recently took a 25% stake in IndyMac, a Californian bank that the government seized last July. But the timing of any bigger push is uncertain. Mr Paulson is acutely aware of the costs of moving too early: those who have bought into financial firms since the start of the crisis have lost, on average, 80% of their investment. Still, in these dire times it is comforting to know that such a smart investor believes there will be something worth saving.

Link:  The Long and the Short, The Economist, 3/12/09

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