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Mar 8, 2021

Cathie Wood is having the worst run in a year as big bets falter

Paul Harris discusses Ark Innovation ETF

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Cathie Wood’s exchange-traded funds slumped in the pre-market on Monday, signaling no end to the selling that has wiped 25 per cent from her flagship investing strategy over three turbulent weeks.

That’s the longest stretch of weekly losses for the Ark Innovation ETF (ticker ARKK) since the COVID-spurred meltdown last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The fund dropped about 4.3 per cent as of 5:20 a.m. in New York, with other products from Wood’s Ark Investment Management falling in lockstep.

Contracts on the Nasdaq 100 fell 1.8 per cent in early trading as benchmark Treasury yields topped 1.6 per cent.

A glance at some of the biggest Ark holdings told the story: Tesla Inc., its top bet, was down 5 per cent. Square Inc. slid by 3.9 per cent, and Teladoc Health, Inc. declined 3.5 per cent. Zillow Group Inc. was edging lower.

These stocks have benn some of the hottest on Wall Street, surging as the pandemic accelerated a shift to online working while the election of U.S. President Joe Biden raised expectations of a policy boost for electric vehicles. Now, the prospect of rising inflation amid an economic recovery is driving up bond yields, making the highest priced equities less attractive.

Read more: Crash Landing on Stock Heroes of Yesteryear Is Worst in a Decade

The prolonged run of losses across Wood’s funds represents the biggest test yet for the firm she founded in 2014. Investors poured billions of dollars into her funds in recent months inspired by Ark’s stellar returns in 2020.

The latest data showed that the main fund recorded a small inflow on Thursday, even as it dropped 5.3 per cent. Other funds like the Ark Next Generation ETF (ARKW) and the Ark Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG) saw hundreds of millions in outflows.

Short interest in ARKK, as measured by the percentage of available shares that are on loan, has climbed to a record of more than 5 per cent, according to data from IHS Markit Ltd. Bearish bets had eased slightly on Thursday.