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Icahn left Trump victory party to bet $1-billion on U.S. stocks

Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network in New York in this file photo taken Feb. 11, 2014.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

As Donald Trump celebrated his surprise election win over Hillary Clinton and equity futures swooned in response, billionaire investor and Trump supporter Carl Icahn headed home to start trading.

Mr. Icahn, 80, left President-elect Trump's victory party in the early hours of the morning to bet about $1-billion on U.S. equities, he said Wednesday in an interview on Bloomberg TV.

"I thought it was absurd that the market, the S&P was down 100 points on Trump getting elected," Mr. Icahn said in a phone interview. "I tried to put a lot more to work, but I couldn't put more than about a billion dollars to work," he said.

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Mr. Icahn also said he'd taken off some hedging trades last night, after saying in August that he was more hedged than ever.

Mr. Icahn, who endorsed Mr. Trump for president in September 2015 and had been mentioned as a potential Treasury secretary, said that the U.S. economy isn't out of the woods yet. But he called Trump coming in "a positive, not a negative" for the country.

Speaking earlier in a telephone interview on CNBC, Mr. Icahn reiterated he has no interest in taking on the role of Treasury secretary in Mr. Trump's administration.

"I don't think I'd be the right guy to fit into Washington, you know," he said.

Mr. Icahn last year described Mr. Trump as the only campaigner speaking out on crucial business and economic concerns, and has maintained his endorsement since.

In September 2015, Mr. Icahn posted a video on his website criticizing "the dysfunction that is going on both in Washington and the board rooms of corporate America" and lambasted the U.S. Congress for failing to reform taxes or immigration.

He backed Mr. Trump's calls to strike tax deals to encourage corporations to bring back overseas profits and stay based in the U.S.; to end the carried interest tax discount for hedge fund and private-equity managers; and said the Federal Reserve is overdue in beginning to raise interest rates.

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