Och-Ziff Capital Management, one of the world’s largest hedge fund groups, had about 35 percent of its $20 billion portfolio in cash during the first quarter.
That was a major vote of no confidence in global stock markets, Bloomberg reports.
“The world will not just bounce back to where it was,” Daniel Och, the firm’s chief executive wrote in a letter to investors.
He was referring to the 34 percent jump for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since March 9. “We continue to believe that economic recovery will be a long process,” he wrote.
Och certainly has played the first four months of the year correctly. OZ Master, Och-Ziff’s biggest hedge fund, gained 6.3 percent during that period, after dropping 15.5 percent last year.
Both those numbers are far superior to the S&P 500, which slid 3.4 percent in the first four months of 2009 after plunging 38 percent in 2008.
Something of a war has broken out among hedge fund titans over where stocks are headed from here, Bloomberg points out.
Luminaries such as David Einhorn, John Horseman and Dmitry Balyasny see the equity market falling back.
But big-timers Barton Biggs and Byron Wien take the opposite view.
Biggs wrote in Newsweek: "My prediction is that we'll see a broad trading range somewhere between the March (S&P) lows of 700 and the 2000 and 2007 highs in the area of 1,450 to 1,500 over the next few years."
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