Billionaire hedge-fund manager and Hillary Clinton supporter George Soros bet against the stock market’s reaction to the election of President-elect Donald Trump and lost almost $1 billion in the process, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Soros came to international prominence when he made over $1 billion in a single month in 1992 by breaking the English pound. Soros predicted the pound was valued too high against the German Duetschmark, and staked a sizable fortune against it.
Soros has spent several of the past years on public policy and philanthropy, but he returned to trading last year at Soros Fund Management, LLC when he saw economic troubles ahead for China and parts of the European Union, and desired to capitalize on the chaos.
He was reportedly cautious about the market before the election, and then grew increasingly bearish after Trump's win due to the President-elect's statements concerning a possible raise in tariffs on Chinese imports, a move many investors saw as potentially upending global trade. From The WSJ:
The stance proved a mistake—the stock market has risen over the past two months on expectations that Mr. Trump’s proposed economic policies will boost corporate earnings and the overall economy.
As a result, some of Mr. Soros’s personal trading positions incurred losses approaching $1 billion...Mr. Soros adjusted his positions and exited many of his bearish bets late last year, avoiding further losses, [sources said].
Soros was born in Hungary but moved to the U.S. at the age of 26 and became a pioneer in the hedge-fund industry. He has been a longtime supporter of progressive causes and gave nearly $20 million to outside pro-Clinton groups over the course of the 2016 election cycle, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
“The broader portfolio held by Mr. Soros’ firm performed better, posting profits before and after the election from long-held investments in sectors including financials and industrials, according to people familiar with the firm,” the Journal noted. “Those gains helped Soros Fund Management gain about 5 percent on the year.”
The Journal also noted that Soros' former deputy, Stanley Druckenmiller did much better following the election. He successfully anticipated a temporary fall in stocks and then an immediate resurgence. Druckenmiller, who supported Ohio Governor John Kasich during the 2016 election, gave roughly $3.5 million to Republican candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.