Everyone is looking to make good returns on the stock market, but most pale into insignificance compared to the true trading superstars. Sometimes, you just look on in awe at what top traders really accomplish, and wish that you could do exactly the same. At a very minimum, it’s well worth paying attention to what these trading superstars have accomplished – and how they did it.
Here are some of the true trading gods of this decade.
He may not be a household name, but David Tepper sent the trading world alight in 2013. Tepper is a hedge fund manager, and prior to that was a long time trader for Goldman Sachs. He’s had a long track record of trading success, but since the financial crisis he has generated truly extraordinary returns.
Tepper is the founder of Appaloosa Management, and in 2013 he managed to significantly outperform both the US stock market and nearly every other hedge fund manager out there. His main fund managed returns of more than 42% in 2013 – and that’s par for the course for this trading superstar. In the five years previous to 2013, his primary hedge fund managed to give investors annualized net returns of almost 40%. His gross returns were around 50%. Tepper made $3.5 billion in profits in 2013, and returned significant amounts of cash to his investors.
Steve Cohen isn’t a choir boy. His hedge fund firm – SAC Capital Advisors – was charged with insider trading in 2013 and reached a settlement where they paid $1.8 billion in fines and penalties to the US federal government. That may seem like a lot, but it’s only a slice of what Cohen made in 2013. He generated $2.3 billion in returns for investors with his Stamford, Connecticut-based hedge fund – despite the legal troubles. Overall, SAC Capital managed to return about 19% in 2013. He didn’t outperform the US stock market, but given the huge fines his company paid, it was still incredibly impressive. It’s also significantly better than what most other hedge fund managers were able to accomplish.
Icahn is one of the best-known names in trading. He’s got a huge track record over many years, and is one of the most feared and respected men in the stock markets due to his activist investor approach. 2013 was a banner year for this trader, who managed to return 31% on his investment fund. Along the way, he managed to get into a pitched battle with Michael Dell, staged a coup at Chesapeake Energy by pushing out Aubrey McClendon, and made an enormous amounts of money on Netflix. He also was one of the loudest voices telling Apple to buy back large amounts of its stock. In addition to the returns on his publicly traded investing company – Icahn Enterprises – Icahn also managed to rack up huge personal profits in 2013 from his trading, making around $1.7 billion to add to his already massive personal fortune.
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