David Gerstenhaber

Tiger Cub, David Gerstenhaber’s Argonaut Capital was down 2.2 percent overall in 2012 even after posting a 3.2 percent gain in Q4. So we can speculate on what did well for the fund in the last quarter now that Argonaut has filed 13f for 4Q2012. From the firm’s investor letters we know that the fund has been under-performing in long U.S. equities, throughout last year.

The hedge fund slashed public long exposure in U.S. by more than 60 percent in Q4, the portfolio is now valued at $114.6 million, down from $435.2 million in Q3. However Argonaut Capital managed around $6 billion till July 2012 so this is just a small percentage of the total AUM.

As Q4 marked contraction of assets rather than expansion, the fund added nothing to any existing position. However Argonaut Capital acquired new stakes in Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), HCA Holdings Inc (NYSE:HCA), Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (NYSE:CP) (TSE:CP), Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Tenet Healthcare Corporation (NYSE:THC). Argonaut also acquired a new position in Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) with 17,572 shares.

In Q4, Argonaut closed all its major positions in ETFs like, selling out of PUT options and shares in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:SPY), iShares Russell 2000 Index (ETF) (NYSEARCA:IWM), PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 (ETF) (NASDAQ:QQQ), and CALLS in iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (ETF) (NYSEARCA:FXI).  Other than FTSE China, all were among top holdings of Q3.

After exiting ETFs, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the largest holding of Argonaut followed by Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM), Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO), American Tower Corp (NYSE:AMT) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM).

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

Argonaut now holds 8,919 shares of Apple after the position was reduced by 27 percent in Q4, the position was increased by 8 percent in Q3. The stock lost 23 percent of its value in Q4, this could not have contributed any substantial profit to the hedge fund.

American International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG)

AIG was initiated in Q3 and the holding was reduced by 34 percent in Q4. AIG has performed well in the past six months, so the investment must have realized profit for Argonaut in the last quarter.

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)

Amazon was again a newly acquired position in Q3 but the stake was cut by more than 50 percent in last quarter of 2012. AMZN has turned profits in the last quarter so the position contributed to Q4’s returns for Argonaut.

Other major reductions were carried out in The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX), HollyFrontier Corp (NYSE:HFC) and all of the top five holdings.