Jeff Gundlach covers short stock positions amid 'palpable panic'

Coronavirus is roiling markets but Gundlach used the moves as an opportunity

The stomach-turning equity market slump, driven by the coronavirus crisis, presented billionaire investor Jeffrey Gundlach, who oversees $148 billion in assets, with an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

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In a Wednesday tweet, Gundlach, CEO and chief investment officer of Los Angeles-based DoubleLine Capital, disclosed covering all of his short positions, or bets that select stocks will fall.

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"For the first time in years, I am now not short any U.S. stocks," he wrote. "I covered my last three shorts today at 2:37 p.m EDT. The profits were just too great to not harvest, and the panic is palpable."

Gundlach noted that he "received panic offers of blue chip (though not at all trophy) art at slashed prices."

It is unclear precisely which positions he exited.

The move came as one of his peers, billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, called on President Trump to shut down the country to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic.

Galaxy Digital founder and CEO Michael Novogratz, in an interview on FOX Business' Liz Claman, criticized Ackman, saying his comments were like throwing "kerosene on the fire."

THE BILLIONAIRE BOND KING WEIGHS IN ON SOARING YIELDS

Separately this week, Gundlach, who is also referred to as the 'Bond King' for his aggressive positions, said unusual activity in the fixed-income market suggests more and bigger bailouts are coming to aid the U.S. economy in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gundlach unwound his short positions amid financial-market carnage that drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average to close below 20,000 on Wednesday, nearly wiping out all the gains earned under President Trump.

Circuit breakers were triggered that day for the second time this week after the S&P 500 fell 7 percent, though stocks rallied slightly from deeper losses before the close.

DOW CLOSES BELOW 20K IN CORONAVIRUS SELLING

Following the close of trading, the New York Stock Exchange announced it would temporarily close its iconic trading floor and move all transactions to an electronic marketplace after both an employee and an exchange member had tested positive for the virus.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
ICEINTERCONTINENTAL EXCHANGE INC.96.01+0.23+0.24%
CMECME GROUP INC163.27+0.14+0.09%

The CME, the world's largest derivatives exchange, recently did the same, closing its floor out of an abundance of caution.

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FOX Business' Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.