By Liz Moyer
NEW YORK (Dow Jones) -- Prominent hedge fund manager John Paulson reported no longer holding common shares of Citigroup (>> Citigroup Inc.), Bank of America (>> Bank of America Corp) and Regions Financial Corp. (>> Regions Financial Corporation), apparently paring back bank and financial stocks in the final quarter of 2011.
Paulson's investment vehicle, Paulson & Co., had previously held 25 million common shares of Citi, 64 million shares of Bank of America and 19 million shares of Regions. It revealed the change in holdings in a quarterly regulatory filing on Tuesday.
Bank stocks sank in 2011, but have rallied so far this year. Citi shares are up 21.9% year to date and Bank of America's are up 43%.
Paulson, who made a name betting against the housing market in 2007, had a difficult year in 2011. His funds reported 84 positions valued at $13.9 billion at the end of December, down from 105 positions valued at $20.7 billion at the end of September. At the end of 2010, his holdings were valued at $29.2 billion.
In the third quarter, Paulson reported significantly fewer financial stocks, and pared back holdings in an exchange traded fund that tracks gold.
In the quarter ended Dec. 31, Paulson reported his holdings in SunTrust Banks Inc. (>> SunTrust Banks, Inc.) stood at 11.8 million shares, down from 30.4 million shares at the end of the third quarter. His holdings of Capital One Financial Corp. (>> Capital One Financial Corp.) common shares were 9.5 million shares, less than half of the 22.2 million reported in the previous quarter.
Paulson's holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust fell to 17.3 million from 20.2 million.
As of the end of December, Paulson reported holding 15.8% of Delphi Automotive PLC (>> Delphi Automotive PLC), or roughly 51.8 million ordinary shares. According to The Wall Street Journal, Paulson sold shares into the company's November initial public offering, reducing his stake from 22%.
In a separate filing, Paulson said Tuesday he would engage shareholders of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (>> Hartford Financial Services) in discussions about a spinoff of the insurer's property and casualty business. He is one of the insurer's biggest shareholders.
Last week, he blasted Hartford's management on a conference call, telling them they needed to "do something drastic" to boost their stock price, which fell 30% over the last year. Paulson held nearly 38 million shares of Hartford at the end of the fourth quarter.
Paulson reported no holdings of McClatchy Co. (>> The McClatchy Company), Liberty Media and Ashford Hospitality Trust (>> Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc.) at the end of the year. In the third quarter, Paulson reported holdings of 5.9 million shares of McClatchy, 6.4 million shares of Liberty Media and 3 million shares of Ashford.
-By Liz Moyer, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2512; firstname.lastname@example.org
Stocks mentioned in the article : Citigroup Inc.
, Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc.
, Bank of America Corp
, SunTrust Banks, Inc.
, Capital One Financial Corp.
, Hartford Financial Services
, The McClatchy Company
, Regions Financial Corporation
, Delphi Automotive PLC