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Minyan Mailbag: Ira Sohn Conference


Helping kids is always a great trade!


Note: Our goal in Minyanville is to remove intimidation from the financial markets and encourage an interactive dialogue among the Minyanship. We share this next column with that very intent.

Please note that the following was published with permission from a worthy Minyan.


Yesterday afternoon and evening was the Ira Sohn Conference to raise money for the Tommorrow's Children's Fund. This is the group at the Hackensack Medical Center that deals with children that have cancer. This Conference features some of the smartest Wall Street Minds giving you their best ideas for the year in exchange for a donation to the fund. It's a great thing. One disclaimer. These guys are smart but, obviously not always right. Furthermore, many of the picks are less than timely and you may have much pain before you end up making money. Take them for what they are worth. I didn't get all of them and I may spell a few wrong.

This years participants were: Carl Icahn, Jim Chanos, Stan Druckenmiller, Bill Miller, David Einhorn, Jim Grant, Paul Isaac, Sam Isaly, Larry Robbins, Scott Smith and Dinakar Singh.

The Conference started at 3:00. If you look at a chart from yesterday, I think you'll be able to tell which picks were given before the market closed.

Jim Chanos, Kynikos. (famous short seller for those who don't know him): Three Shorts: United Health Group (UNH), Jarden (JAH), Ispat Int'l (MT)

Jim thinks regulatory matters concerning Medicare will hurt healthcare. He is Negative Cables saying the internet will squeeze their margins like the music and video industries have already seen. JAH is growing through "acquisition accounting" which he thinks is a short. Steel, specifically MT. Says you want to short when a guy throws a 50 million dollar wedding for his daughter at Versailles. That kind of thing usually suggests a top.

Jim Grant: Likes Labranche & Co (LAB) because they are near liqui- dation value and worth much more. Short Commerce Bancorp (CBH) because they are priced off past growth that cannot be sustained (and because the wife of the CEO has billed the bank 26 million over the past few years for "consulting" on new branches. I hope you all like the curtains).

Dinakar Singh, TPG-Axon Capital. Likes Takada Financial in Japan (spelling on that one may be off). Likes Anyst Tech (ASYT), Polycom (PLCM), DST Systems (DST) and Louisiana-Pacific (LPX).

Sam Isaly, Orbimed. Thinks big Pharma has based. Says his picks might take a while. Likes Affymetrix (AFFX), OSI Pharma (OSIP), NPS Pharma (NPSP) and Human Genome Sciences (HGSI).

Stan Druckemiller is VERRYYY negative. He cites some scary stats about credit market debt as a % of GDP, about consumer spending being supported by refinancing and home equity loans and about our future debt service to China and other countries. He predicts a bubble burst and a recession in 2006 or 2007.

Scott Smith, Camelot Capital. Likes 3 sectors. Info services, Biometrics, Mobile. His picks are Cogent (COGT), Research in Motion (RIMM), Syniverse Tech (SVR), Hurray! Holding (HRAY) and Microsoft (MSFT).

Larry Robbins, Glenview is also positive big pharma. Likes McKesson (MCK), AmerisourceBergen (ABC), Priority Healthcare (PHCC), Crompton (CK), Express Scripts (ESRX), Teva Pharma (TEVA), CVS (CVS), Rite Aid (RAD). He also likes Reliant Energy (RRI). His short idea was Southwest Airlines (LUV).

Bill Miller: Largest holding Tyco Int'l (TYC). Thinks it's worth $43, trading at $29ish. Likes Nextel/Sprint (NXTL/FON), (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY). Also thinks oil is going lower but says that's a personal account position and his track record in his PA isn't that good ( according to him).

Paul Isaac of Cadogan gave 2 stocks you can't really buy for a fund but maybe in your Personal accounts. Belco Holdings Bermuda's electric co. and Air Mauritius (spelling?).

David Einhorn, Greenlight capital. David likes MDC Holdings (MDC). He is the 2nd largest holder. For many reasons he thinks people think the housing market is more cyclical than it really is. He thinks MDC is a buy. He thinks they manage themselves better than the competition and trade at a sub- average multiple to the group. David also wowed the crowd by donating 1 Million dollars on behalf of his firm when he was finished speaking. He was immediately invited back for next year.

Carl Icahn went last and spent the first 10 minutes saying what a nice guy David Einhorn was but said there was a housing bubble. He said "Im not telling you to short them because the bubble could get a lot bigger first". It was kind of funny. ( As an aside, they could both be right. David had pointed out that even in a housing market sell off of historical proportion MDC would still be ok.). Carl went on to say there was money to be made in some oil stocks. He pointed to Kerr-McGee (KMG) which he recently shook up. The argument goes like this... they produce oil for about $26 a barrel (he did not have papers with him and was approximating) and they can sell it for $50 right now. So, sell it. AND sell it foward in the futures mkt. Take the money and buy back a bunch of your stock and watch your EPS go up. He has done this with KMG ( in his words, "they're buying a bunch of stock back with one of those Dutch things"). At the end he threw in a general positive call in generics. Then he went back to the Blockbuster (BBI)Meeting.

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