David Einhorn closed out 2018 with his biggest annual loss ever for the 22-year-old Greenlight Capital.
The firm’s main hedge fund fell 9 percent in December, extending this year’s decline to 34 percent, according to an investor update viewed by Bloomberg.
Greenlight posted some of the industry’s best returns in its early years, but has stumbled since losing more than 20 percent in 2015.
Other value-investing managers have also struggled, as a decade of historically low interest rates and the rise of passive investing and quant trading pushed growth stocks past their inexpensive brethren. Three Bays Capital and SPO Partners & Co., which sought to make wagers on undervalued stocks, closed in 2018. Einhorn has repeatedly expressed his frustration with the poor performance this year, while remaining steadfast in his commitment to value investing.
Waning Returns Greenlight’s performance hit its peak in 1997, the year after inception
Source: Bloomberg reporting
Greenlight, which posted gains only in May and October, underperformed both the broader market and its peers in 2018. The S&P 500 Index dropped 4.4 percent, including dividends, while the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index, an early indicator of industry performance, fell 7 percent through Dec. 28. A spokesperson for the New York-based firm declined to comment.
Shrinking Pocketbook At the start of the year, Greenlight managed $6.3 billion in assets, according to a regulatory filing. By May, the firm was down to $5.5 billion. With redemptions and losses, it may start 2019 with less than $5 billion under management.
Greenlight’s largest holdings as of Sept. 30 included homebuilder Green Brick Partners Inc., insurer Brighthouse Financial Inc. and aircraft leasing firm AerCap Holdings NV, which each declined more than 25 percent during the fourth quarter.
Einhorn has been a steady critic of Tesla Inc. and a prominent short-seller of the stock. In November, he told investors the third quarter “will be as good as it gets” for the electric-car maker, which slid in December but was up 26 percent over the last three months of the year.