Some of the biggest names in the investing world are gathering in Las Vegas this week for the annual SALT hedge fund conference, a glitzy annual confab set in Las Vegas that also includes appearances from top celebrities, politicians, business leaders and even a rock-star or two. Some of the biggest and well known investors are expected to participate in panels, including one focused on "Top Stock Picks" and another on the "Next Big Trade."
As a result TheStreet thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the 2016 SALT conference and pick some winners and losers by seeing which recommendations paid off - and which ones were duds.
Here's a look at our findings:
1. Blue Harbour's Robbins Xilinx Pick A Winner One Year Later
Top on our list is collaborative behind-the-scenes activist Clifton Robbins of Blue Harbur Group. Robbins pitched Xilinx Corp. (XLNX) , a San Jose-based semi-conductor company, at the May 2016 conference. Xilinx's share price has shot upwards from about $43 a share at the time to trade at around $64.50 a share today. At the time, Robbins said he was encouraging Xilinx to buy back shares with their cash on hand. Xilinx is still part of Blue Harbour's portfolio today, according to the fund's website.
Kirk Ferguson, managing director at activist fund Sachem Head Capital Management, told participants last year that he owned a 4.9% stake in TeamHealth, a company that he said had a better chance of being acquired since the health care staffing company settled earlier in 2016 with another activist hedge fund executive, Jana Partners Barry Rosenstein, to put three dissident director candidates on its board.
Canyon Capital Advisors' Joshua Friedman, a sometimes-activist investor, told investors last year that he was bullish on MGM Resorts (MGM) and Las Vegas in general. At the time MGM Resorts traded at about $22.00 a share - it has since risen to trade recently at about $31.95 a share.
However, Kynikos Associates LP's James Chanos presented a short case for Cheniere Energy (LNG) last year at the conference, calling it "financial engineering gone crazy." Cheniere's shares traded at about $34.05 a share at the time, but have since risen to trade at about $49.58 a share today. A Kynikos official did not return a call for comment.
He said at the time that the company is "excessively expensive" compared to less-levered peers.
Nevertheless, the billionaire short-seller who is most famous for shorting energy firm Enron is back at SALT this year. He will be participating in a panel entitled "Top Stock Picks From Leading Investment Managers"