uploads/2020/05/Pershing-Square-Bill-Ackman-Q1-13F.jpeg

Q1 13F: How Bill Ackman Played the US Stock Market Crash

By

Updated

  • Bill Ackman of Pershing Square has been having a dream run for the last few quarters. The fund outperformed broader stock markets by a wide margin last year.
  • This year, Ackman’s timing has been impeccable. He made over $2 billion by shorting stocks as US stock markets crashed in the first quarter. However, he covered the short positions and added to long positions thereafter.

Pershing Square’s 13F: What’s Bill Ackman doing?

Pershing Square Capital Management has released its first-quarter 13F. Bill Ackman has been having a dream run over the last few quarters. Pershing Square managed to beat US stock markets by a wide margin in 2019. So far, 2020 looks even better for Ackman. He made over $2 billion by shorting stocks in the first quarter. US stock markets crashed in the first quarter and Pershing Square made a massive profit on its short positions.

US stock markets crashed in Q1

Bill Ackman added to the long positions in March. He said that he’s “very bullish” and focusing on “companies with strong balance sheets.” Pershing Square added over $2 billion worth of stocks. That’s a fairly large position for Pershing Square, which Ackman also argued. Meanwhile, Ackman’s bullishness has paid off. US stock markets recovered sharply after the crash in March. Let’s look at Pershing Square’s first-quarter 13F.

What did Ackman buy?

Pershing Square’s first-quarter 13F showed that Ackman added almost 14 million shares of Restaurants Brands International (NYSE:QSR) in the first quarter. He also added around 3.6 million shares of Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) and 1.4 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B). Restaurant Brands International, Lowe’s, and Berkshire Hathaway were Pershing Square’s top three holdings at the end of the first quarter.

Pershing Square also added more shares of Hilton, Agilent, Starbucks, and Howard Hughes. The first-quarter 13F showed that Ackman took a new position in Blackstone Group and Park Hotels and Resorts.

Pershing Square sold a stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill

Pershing Square’s first-quarter 13F showed that the company trimmed its stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill. While Ackman has been quite bullish on Berkshire Hathaway since he added the position last year, the company’s returns have been disappointing. Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman, Warren Buffett, preferred to sit on cash in the first quarter even as US stock markets crashed. As a result, Berkshire Hathaway’s cash pile swelled to $137 billion at the end of the first quarter.

Bill Ackman and Berkshire Hathaway

Greenlight Capital also added Berkshire Hathaway shares in the first quarter. Berkshire Hathaway is underperforming US stock markets this year. The company underperformed the S&P 500 by a wide margin last year as well. Read Will Bill Ackman’s Bet on Berkshire Hathaway Pay Off? to learn more.

More From Market Realist