‘I couldn’t have been more wrong’: Legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller reveals a mistake he made that cost him major market returns

Stanley Druckenmiller, Chairman and CEO of Duquesne Family Office LLC., speaks at the Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, U.S. May 4, 2016.

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Stanley Druckenmiller, Chairman and CEO of Duquesne Family Office LLC., speaks at the Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, U.S. May 4, 2016.
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REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

  • Stanley Druckenmiller told Bloomberg Television Wednesday that he “couldn’t have been more wrong” when he predicted a period of low returns a year ago.
  • That bet hindered his performance in 2019. He just hit double-digits, he said, while the S&P 500 gained roughly 24% in the same timeframe.
  • He said he’d been positioned timidly because of the uncertainty the current administration has brought to markets.
  • Read more on Business Insider.

One year ago, legendary investor Stanley Druckenmiller made a mistake in predicting that a period of low returns was coming, he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

“I couldn’t have been more wrong,” Druckenmiller told Bloomberg in the interview released Wednesday. Because of his hunch, he shorted financials, bought into Treasury bonds, and took haven in technology stocks he thought were “recession-proof,” according to the report.

That led to a less-than-desirable performance in 2019, he told Bloomberg.

“I just got into double-digits,” Druckenmiller said. “Last week I wouldn’t have even been able to say that.” In contrast, the S&P 500 index has soared to fresh highs multiple times and is up roughly 24% in the same timeframe.

“I’m just too conservative in my old age. I was well positioned but very timidly – I’ll leave it at that,” he said.

One of the reasons he’s been “timid,” he said, is because of the Trump administration and the uncertainty it’s brought to markets.

“Wondering where the hell the next bomb is coming from, just doesn’t allow me to take some of the positions I’ve taken historically where I just thought it was a one-way bet,” he said. “To me, this was always binary and a two-way bet.”

Druckenmiller switched to a bullish position in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the report. Going into 2020, he remains bullish, Bloomberg reported.