George Soros has apparently decided that 86 is indeed too young to retire. Reports began surfacing about Soros’s return to trading around the beginning of 2016. Prior to this year, Soros had more or less retired from active trading for a number of years, allowing others to manage his family wealth through Soros Fund Management LLC. The Wall Street Journal broke the news in June and it's been confirmed by the trades in the fund's 13F filings aligning with Soros' public opinions. As Soros has made a significant amount of his fortune with big, bearish bets, it's no surprise that he is once again looking to predict – and profit from – economic turmoil. (See also: The Greatest Investors: George Soros.)
Soros has publicly stated that he feels the world economy is once again flirting with an economic crisis. Of concern is a slowing Chinese economy that could have an impact across commodities, equities and, of course, currencies. Soros’s fund has recently disclosed a doubling of its short position against the S&P 500 to roughly $430 million. This is the clearest indication that he is the one driving the trades in the most recent 13F.
On top of the bet against the S&P, Soros unloaded on Barrick Gold Corp (ABX) after realizing significant profits as the stock has nearly tripled in the first half of 2016. He also added a $533.5 million stake in Liberty Broadband Corporation (LBRDA). Even though he has presumably been back since January, Soros did curiously sit out shorting the British pound around Brexit. After Brexit became a reality, his fund profited from bearish bets based on the shakeout that followed. That said, the S&P bet increases suggest he still expects a much larger hammer to drop on the market.
Being George Soros, his comments and actions are bound to attract a lot of attention from market observers, and that in itself can have an impact. Soros is at his best in analyzing macroeconomics and political climates to predict large market swings, so his return to the market and conviction that a crisis is coming has a lot of people nervous about the future. (See also: The Greatest Currency Trades Ever Made.)