Can Christmas save Renaissance's toy bet?


By Pete Gallo

The holiday shopping season seems to roll in a little sooner every year, with Thanksgiving decorations giving way to Christmas sales at shopping malls with accelerated fury. This year, holiday sales can't start soon enough for Long Island-based hedge fund manager Jim Simons. That's because his firm, Renaissance Technologies, has invested close to $1 billion in companies that make toys, and so far it's not looking like a merry Christmas ahead.

It's no exaggeration to say that putting classic board games like Hasbro's Monopoly and Mattel's iconic Barbie doll under the tree this Christmas will have