Mets owner Steve Cohen has adopted a defensive stock-picking strategy, plowing into safe havens, including oil and casino properties, as he seeks to hedge against a bearish market, according to a report.
The 65-year-old hedge-fund magnate, who has an estimated net worth of $11.9 billion, has recently been focusing on so-called high-yield stocks, which are equities whose dividend yields exceed the yield of any benchmark average, such as US Treasury 10-year note.
Such stocks tend to outperform low-yield and no-yield securities during bear markets because investors view them as less risky.
On the face of it, this looks like a departure for Cohen, who as head of Point 72 Asset Management earned a reputation for making big, risky bets on volatile stocks.
During the first quarter of this year, Cohen’s fund bought 633,800 shares of VICI Properties, a New York-based real estate investment trust, or REIT, that specializes in casinos, hotels and racetracks, according to a securities filing.
Cohen is the owner of Point72 Asset Management Hedge Fund. Sipa USA via AP
VICI was created in 2017 as part of a spin-off of Caesars Entertainment after the company went bankrupt for $18 billion. VICI has 10 resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, including 1.2 million square feet of casino space, more than 40,000 hotel rooms, and 6 million square feet of convention space.
In all, VICI’s portfolio includes 43 casinos; 450 restaurants, bars and clubs; and four major golf courses. In April, VICI announced that it had completed its $17.2 billion acquisition of MGM Growth Properties.
Shares of VICI Properties were up nearly 2% as of 3 pm on Thursday. At about $30 per share, Cohen’s stake in VICI is worth about $18 million, according to finance site TipRanks.
Cohen has increased his investments in high-yield dividend stocks. AFP via Getty Images
Cohen is also betting on BP, the world’s largest oil and gas producer, whose market capitalization is estimated at $104 billion.
The Mets boss bought an additional 3,276,969 shares of BP. Cohen had already bought half a million shares of the company before his latest investment – valuing his stake in the company to about $122 million.
BP shares rose nearly 1% on Wednesday. As of 3 pm on Wednesday, BP stock was trading at around $32.40 per share.
Like most energy companies, BP made impressive profits despite divesting from a 20% stake in Russian firm Rosneft in the wake of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
In the first quarter of this year, BP reported a net profit of more than $6 billion — easily beating analyst estimates of $4.1 billion.