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Billionaire investor Steve Cohen: ‘After an earthquake there are tremors’

Steven Cohen

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Billionaire trader Steven A. Cohen is cautioning the staff of his investment firm, Point72 Asset Management, to remain cautious amid markets that have recovered slightly from coronavirus-driven lows.

“Markets don’t come back in a straight line; after an earthquake there are tremors,” Cohen wrote to staff on Friday in an internal memo seen by Reuters.

“We need to continue to be disciplined. We are seeing plenty of opportunities to generate returns, but I don’t want us taking undue risks.”

Cohen also wrote that his $16 billion firm’s returns are “essentially flat for the year,” a result that “speaks to how well our investment professionals have managed risk in such a challenging environment.”

Point72 is best known for stock market investments, its core hedge fund strategy, although it also bets on other securities following a so-called macro style, which involves global wagers on lots of asset classes at once based on macroeconomic trends.

Cohen’s market view appears to have made its way to the highest levels of U.S. government: He last week participated in a conference call with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, according to a person familiar with the situation.

What specifically the Republican donor told Trump and Pence was unclear. Reuters previously reported that the call was to discuss the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve and other issues, according an administration official.

Others on the call included Dan Loeb of Third Point, Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group, Robert Smith of Vista Equity Partners, Paul Tudor Jones of Tudor Investment Corp and Ken Griffin of Citadel.

Cohen’s role has not previously been reported.

Institutional Investor recently estimated here that Cohen made $1.3 billion in 2019 following a 14.9% gain in Point72’s main hedge fund. Point72, based in Stamford, Connecticut, was previously known as S.A.C. Capital Advisors.

Other large so-called multi-strategy hedge funds that use teams of traders have also posted relatively strong performance deep into March. They include the Millennium USA fund, which is up 0.17% for the year through Friday, according to a person familiar with the returns, and Citadel’s Wellington fund, which is also slightly positive for the year.

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