There were also a few cheap, big name stocks in which both Paulson and Soros have been active traders in recent quarters, Citigroup (C) chief among them.
Soros parted ways with Citigroup in the first quarter, selling almost all of his 95 million share stake in the megabank, while Paulson kept his holdings steady at just over 500 million shares.
Both fund managers continue to bet that a profit-taking opportunity in shares of Boston Scientific (BSX) lies ahead. It would have to, since Boston Scientific shares, currently trading under $7, did nothing but slide throughout the first quarter.
Soros, who upped his stake in the medical-device underdog by 500,000 shares in the first quarter, can't touch Paulson in terms of banking on Boston Scientific shares to rebound: Paulson had a 100 million share stake in the company coming into the first quarter, and didn't change it.All the while, Boston Scientific's business has gone from bad to worse as the company recalled a pacemaker from the market for a month. (The situation has since been resolved.) One of the biggest dollar-stock plays from Soros was in shares of Conexant Systems (CNXT), a semiconductor company in which Soros bought more than 2 million common shares in the first quarter. The Soros filing also detailed holdings of 106 million Conexant convertible notes. Conexant management said during its second-quarter conference call that it planned to use recent capital market proceeds to complete a tender offer for all of its outstanding notes, but more than $100 million in notes remains outstanding as note holders did not elect to sell. Soros, of course, knows his international banking, and he found an investment candidate in BBVA Banco Frances (BFR), buying 1.2 million shares. By the end of the first quarter, shares of the Argentine bank had spiked from under $6 a share to nearly $8. The stock has since slid back to $6.40 as unrest in the international markets hit financial shares around the globe. Epicor Software (EPIC), a business enterprise software company that saw its share price rise from $7.62 to almost $10 in the first quarter, was also a beneficiary of additional Soros buying. The hedge fund manager upped his stake in convertible bonds issued by Epicor, to a level equivalent to 114 million total shares, or 18 million shares more than the previous quarter.
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