The main fund from Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management extended its drop from a February peak to 20 per cent, highlighting a swift turnaround for the formerly high-flying stocks favored by the firm.

The US$24.6 billion Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK) fell as much as 6.8 per cent on Wednesday alone as growth stocks such as Pinterest Inc. and Zillow Group Inc. took a beating. The Nasdaq 100 Index lost more than 2 per cent as traders turn away from tech in favor of so-called value stocks that had underperformed during the pandemic, bringing its losses since a peak last month to almost 8 per cent.

The rotation, along with higher bond yields that dim the allure of equities, is taking the shine off what had been one of the hottest investments on Wall Street, with ARKK growing 10-fold over the past year, including a whopping US$2.37 billion inflow just last month. Since peaking on Feb. 12, ARKK’s price has now dropped by a fifth, the level that commonly defines a bear market.

“People are worried the crowded trades will lose their momentum like they did last September” when some of the biggest tech names suffered a bout of selling, said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co.

Embedded Image

Yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes have jumped more than 50 basis points in 2021, on track for the largest quarterly increase since 2016. Consequently, it’s growing more difficult to justify sky-high valuations for highly speculative, expensive areas of the stock market.

ARKK’s three largest holdings, Tesla Inc., Square Inc. and Roku Inc., have at least tripled over the past year. Tesla is up close to 350 per cent, while Square has surged about 200 per cent and Roku is up more than 240 per cent. On Wednesday, they all slumped.

In fact, all but one stock held by ARKK fell and eight suffered losses exceeding 10 per cent, including Stratasys Ltd., a maker of 3D printers and Veracyte Inc., which develops molecular tests for oncology.

The fund’s tilt toward long-term growth means short-term profitability isn’t a key consideration when stocks are picked. In fact, two-thirds of its current holdings didn’t make a profit in the past year. And even after the recent losses, ARKK is still slightly up for the year.

Inflows to the fund have faltered in the past week, but there’s yet to be a mass exodus. ARKK took in more than US$600 million combined the past two days, after losing more than US$690 million last week in its worst five-day period on record.

“There is growing unease in the markets and whether higher-risk asset classes can continue to climb,” said Michael Purves, chief executive officer at Tallbacken Capital Advisors. “If sentiment turns, you can see substantial outflows.”