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Pershing Square trails S&P 500 in H1 2023

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Pershing Square, the US equities hedge fund founded by Bill Ackman, underperformed in the first half of the year, partly due to efforts to protect the firm against rises in long-term inflation, according to a report by CityWire.

The $10.7bn (£8.4bn) FTSE 100-listed investment firm generated a total underlying return of 10% in the first six months of 2023, behind the US stock market, with the S&P 500 index gaining 16.9% over the same period.

With the firm’s discount to net asset values (NAV) also widening to 36.12%, prompting the board to buy back shares worth $55.4m, shareholders only received a 5.4% return.

The company has now reportedly bought back nearly $1.2bn of its shares since May 2017 without any improvement in the discount.

The fund remains well ahead of the S&P 500 in the last five years though, with its total 278% return on net assets having provided a compound annual return of 28.1% versus the US benchmark’s 84% total return and 12.1% annual compound.

The report cites data from broker Numis Securities as revealing that the firm’s latest five-year shareholder returns of 168.5% at Friday’s close are far in excess of the S&P 500’s 67% return, and ahead of the performance of other London-listed North America equity funds which have generated an average of just 45.9%.

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