By Trevor Hunnicutt
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Soros Fund Management LLC, whose billionaire chairman said earlier this year that markets would stumble given the uncertainty surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump, recently held positions that could profit if the financial markets falter, U.S. regulatory filings showed on Monday.
George Soros in January said at his annual media dinner held at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that "it's impossible to predict" Trump's actions but that he was nonetheless "convinced that he is going to fail."
Soros Fund Management held put options on PowerShares QQQ Trust <QQQ.O>, SPDR S&P 500 ETF <SPY.P> and iShares Russell 2000 ETF <IWM.P> as of June 30, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Each is an exchange-traded fund that tracks a broad U.S. stock market index.
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Puts profit when the equity they are tied to decline in value.
The Soros puts, valued at nearly $1.8 billion, are three of the four largest single holdings on the disclosure.
Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros Fund Management, said the company would not comment beyond what was outlined in the filing.
The quarterly disclosures of asset manager stock holdings, in what are known as 13F filings with the SEC, offer clues on what big investors are selling and buying, but give no indication of their current stakes.
They offer an incomplete take on an investor's portfolio, including the precise profit-and-loss dimensions of their options. The options could merely be used to limit the risk of another, more consequential, holding in the portfolio.
In Soros' specific case, the SPY put could be offset by a long position in the ETF valued at $2.7 million and a call option valued at nearly $50 million. Profits on calls increase along with the equity they are held against.
Soros, who founded Soros Fund Management and now is chairman of the New York-based firm, has donated millions of dollars to groups supporting Democrats.
He famously made huge profits in 1992 betting against the British pound as it crashed below the preset level and had to be withdrawn from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Diane Craft)