Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bill Gross' 2 Billion Dollar Day. Thanks Easy Al for all of your insights!

Bail-out hands Pimco $1.7bn payday
By Deborah Brewster in New York
Published: September 9 2008 19:49 | Last updated: September 9 2008 19:49
The Bill Gross-managed Pimco Total Return fund reaped a $1.7bn payday following the US government takeover of home loan giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

While shareholders in Fannie and Freddie suffered deep losses, the world’s biggest bond fund saw its highest ever one-day rise against its benchmark index on Monday, benefiting from the bet made by Mr Gross on mortgage bonds issued by the agencies.

Mr Gross had made a big shift out of US Treasuries and corporate bonds over the past year and into agency bonds, betting that the government would support Fannie and Freddie Mac. By May this year, more than 60 per cent of his $132bn fund was in mortgage debt.

Mortgage-backed bond prices rose after the US government seized control of the agencies.

Mr Gross’s fund, which side-stepped the housing market slide, had risen strongly before Sunday’s government bail-out. In the 12 months to August 1, the fund returned 9.2 per cent, beating all of its peers, according to fund tracker Morningstar.

On Monday, the fund rose by 1.3 per cent, or $1.7bn, its biggest one-day rise ever against the Lehman Aggregate Bond index.

Mr Gross, who co-founded Pimco and has managed the Total Return fund since 1987, was one of the first to call for a bail-out of Fannie and Freddie.

In his latest monthly commentary, he also said that the government needed to use more of its own money to support financial markets, or risk a “financial tsunami”.

Mr Gross’ style is to take a macro-economic view and make tactical changes based on short-term movements in the economy.

The recent success of the Total Return fund has helped Pimco to be the only one of the 25 largest mutual fund managers to lift its assets under management in the year to date, according to Financial Research Corporation data to the end of July.

By contrast, several well-respected equity fund managers are suffering in the wake of the government move, which leaves Fannie and Freddie stock almost worthless. Legg Mason’s Bill Miller, Fidelity, Dodge & Cox and Wellington are among the fund managers that had heavy exposure to Fannie and Freddie – and had lifted that further this year, according to Bloomberg data.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

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