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Hedge funds bet on Obamacare

August 15, 2012: 3:26 PM ET

Health insurance stocks have been mixed this year. But with the Supreme Court upholding health care reform, some hedge funds are investing in the sector.

Hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, once a supporter of President Obama, is now a critic. But he appears to think the president's health care plan will be a boon for health insurers. And he's not alone.

Loeb and noted short seller David Einhorn accumulated new positions in multiple health insurance stocks at some point in the second quarter, according to SEC filings released Tuesday.

Both Loeb's Third Point Capital and Einhorn's Greenlight Capital acquired stakes in Aetna (AET), Cigna (CI), Humana (HUM) and UnitedHealth Group (UNH).

While Loeb called the Obama administration "hostile to most businesses and unable to articulate or implement policies to spark growth or reduce unemployment" in a recent letter to investors, he did not discuss his rationale for investing in health care stocks.

Representatives from Third Point and Greenlight did not return calls for comment.

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Still, it doesn't look like the hedge fund industry has a clear consensus on what Obamacare means for health care stocks, said Charles Gradante, a managing principal of the Hennessee Group, which advises wealthy individuals on investment in 125 hedge funds. "A lot of managers are waiting to see what will happen, and otherwise they're very much split."

Shares of leading insurance firms have been mixed this year, despite the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the health care reform bill Obama signed into law in 2010.

Both Cigna and UnitedHealth Group have modest returns of 4% this year, while Humana and Aetna have clocked double digit losses in 2012.

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Maureen Farrell
Maureen Farrell
Staff writer, CNNMoney

Maureen Farrell is a staff writer at CNNMoney and covers Wall Street, banking, mergers and the stock and bond markets. Prior to joining CNNMoney, she covered venture capital and entrepreneurs for Forbes, and mergers and bankruptcy for Mergermarket and Debtwire, both divisions of the Financial Times.

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