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Burry, Scion Capital Founder, Bets on Gold, Farmland

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Dr. Michael Burry, who predicted the collapse in mortgages and made huge profits for himself and his investors at Scion Capital LLC by betting against subprime mortgage bonds, said in a September 7 interview with Bloomberg News that his current monies were riding on gold and arable farmland properties with water, as well as small Asian technology firms.

Burry’s previous bets against the mortgage bubble, documented in an April Vanity Fair article and in the book The Big Short by Michael Lewis, were wildly successful, owing at least in part to his attention to detail and willingness to plod through thousands of documents. The former hedge fund manager, who left medicine as a career to found the firm he named after a favorite Terry Brooks fantasy novel, “The Scions of Shannara,” used to write about his investing strategies in the wee hours of the morning after a day’s work in medicine. Once his strategies began to attract notice from large firms, including Vanguard, he opened Scion. Later he would convince Goldman Sachs to sell him credit default swaps against CDOs he’d researched as primed to fail.

Now he’s turned his attention to real estate once more, this time in the form of actual land – but not just any land: productive farmland with water present on the property – and has devoted a “significant” portion of his portfolio to such assets.

He is also looking at gold. Considering how right he was about the mortgage market, perhaps gold’s price will run even higher than its current brush with records, despite the fact that Bloomberg reported that last week was the first decline in gold’s price since July.


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