10/31/2008

VW and hedge funds: Squeezing the accelerator

Volkswagen's turbocharged shares cause misery for hedge funds

IT IS hard to feel sorrow for hedge funds. Their reputation as ruthless investors and the largely unwarranted blame for amassing huge sums of cash as the financial system crumbled have earned them unflattering comparisons to locusts, spivs and far worse. But if there were ever a moment when the hedge funds might be deserving of a modicum of pity it may be now. On Tuesday October 28th Volkswagen’s share price briefly made it the most valuable company in the world, at a time when many hedge funds had placed substantial bets that the German car company’s value would shrink.

The damage from the head-on collision between many scores of hedge funds (and maybe some banks) is yet to become fully apparent. Some early estimates suggested that the losses from the “short squeeze” could be as much as €30 billion ($37.4 billion), although the final tally will probably be many billions less. Ironically, given that some hedge-fund managers live up to their popular brash and conspicuously wealthy image, the other car company involved in the pile-up is Porsche. ...



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[Source: The Economist: News analysis - Posted by FreeAutoBlogger]

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