The Tell: Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square makes comeback, up over 24% so far this year

The year has started off well for Bill Ackman and his Pershing Square fund.

The notorious activist investor’s hedge fund is up 24.7% in the year so far, according to the fund’s website, citing data up until Tuesday. That overshadows the performance of the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.41%  , which has gained 9.9% in the year-to-date, according to FactSet.

The timing couldn’t be better, given that in past years, Pershing Square’s performance was anything but stellar. In 2018, net returns declined by 0.7%, the fund’s website shows, following a steep 14.2% drop in the fourth quarter. In 2017, returns fell by 4%. In the two years prior, net returns were even worse, dropping 13.5% and 20.5% in 2016, and 2015, respectively.

Among Ackman’s most talked-about trades were his costly stake in Valeant Pharmaceuticals and short position in Herbalife.

In the year-to-date, Ackman’s investments in Fannie Mae FNMA, +1.76%  and Freddie Mac FMCC, +2.05%  , as well as fast-casual dining chain Chipotle Mexican Grill CMG, +0.47%  , are the best performing stocks including dividends in Pershing Square’s portfolio, according to fund’s annual investor update available on its website.

In October last year, the fund revealed a $900 million stake in coffee chain Starbucks SBUX, +0.52%  .

Pershing Square has $7.93 billion assets under management. The fund declined to comment.

Also read: Billionaire fund manager Bill Ackman offers way to end shutdown | Warren’s wealth tax blasted as ‘flawed’

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