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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

George Soros Invested in Dry Ships and Diana Shipping, but Should You?

by Blake Bos, The Motley Fool Nov 26th 2013 8:34PM
Updated Nov 26th 2013 8:36PM

George Soros' investment firm recently purchased 590,278 shares of DryShips and 77,942 shares of Diana Shipping . That comes out to a $1.8 million stake in DryShips and an $841,000 stake in Diana Shipping. Soros' firm currently manages right around $6.8 billion spread across 2,333 holdings, so these additions are a very small portion of the total portfolio. The firm also owns small positions in Navios Maritime Holdings and Navios Partners.

Whether it's Soros himself or his fund managers, it appears his company is making a small bet on the dry bulk shipping sector, with DryShips and Diana Shipping leading the pack. So just what would motivate Soros to invest in this sector?

Some history on Soros' motivations for speculating
Looking at Soros' biography in Money Masters of Our Time by John Train, Soros is known as a speculator by nature, with an ability to trade in and out of positions quickly using margin debt. His strategy revolves around three main points, according to Train:

    Start small, and then if things work out, build the position bigger.
    He doesn't need to know everything about a particular investment, just enough to have an edge on the market.
    He has to correctly judge the risk inherent in a position the moment it's established.
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George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1930. His father was taken prisoner during World War I and eventually fled from captivity in Russia to reunite with his family in Budapest. Soros was thirteen years old when Hitler's Wehrmacht seized Hungary and began deporting the country's Jews to extermination camps. In 1946, as the Soviet Union was taking control of the country, Soros attended a conference in the West and defected. He emigrated in 1947 to England, supported himself by working as a railroad porter and a restaurant waiter, graduated in 1952 from the London School of Economics, and obtained an entry-level position with an investment bank.

In 1956, Soros immigrated to the United States, working as a trader and analyst until 1963. During that time, he developed his own theory of markets called 'reflexivity', which he has laid out in his recent books THE ALCHEMY OF FINANCE and THE CREDIT CRISIS OF 2008 AND WHAT IT MEANS. In 1967 he helped establish an offshore investment fund; and in 1973 he set up a private investment firm that eventually evolved into the Quantum Fund, one of the first hedge funds, through which he accumulated a vast fortune.