(Bloomberg) -- As famed money manager Michael Burry made headlines boosting bullish bets on stocks including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in the first quarter of this year, other top hedge funds were also piling in.
Moore Capital Management and Third Point LLC were among the biggest buyers of US-traded shares in the Chinese e-commerce giant in the first quarter, according to an analysis of hedge funds compiled by Bloomberg using 13F filings. A handful of Asia-based peers were among the biggest sellers, the data showed.
The lone Asia-headquartered firm among the top 10 buyers was Hermes Li’s Aspex Management (HK) Ltd., which oversaw $7.2 billion at the end of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from quarterly regulatory filings.
Six Asia-based firms, including Simon Sadler’s Segantii Capital Management Ltd. and Alpine Investment Management Ltd., accounted for nearly half of Alibaba ADRs offloaded by the quarter’s top 10 biggest hedge fund sellers. Tairen Capital Ltd., Prime Capital Management Co. Ltd. and CoreView Capital Management Ltd. completely exited their positions. Segantii and Ariose Capital Management Ltd. sold the bulk of the Alibaba ADRs they owned at the end of December by March, according to the data.
Alibaba ADRs have lost about one third of their value since this year’s peak in January amid news of SoftBank Group Corp.’s plan to slash its stake and mounting geopolitical tension.
Read more: Michael Burry Doubles Alibaba Stake in Big Bet on China Tech
Among the first-quarter sellers, Segantii runs a hedge fund with about $6 billion which has had one lone year of losses since its inception in late 2007. Tairen, founded the same year, reported $5.9 billion in gross assets in its hedge fund in a March regulatory filing and is among the most revered Asia-based managers.
The 13F filings have been closely watched by observers trying to gain a glimpse into the opaque world of hedge fund trading. To be sure, they have limitations. While they provide an end-of-the-quarter snapshot of funds’ mostly bullish bets, they don’t reveal trading during the quarter and fail to account for most bearish wagers.
Alpine and Segantii declined to comment. The other firms didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Asia-based hedge funds typically invest most of their capital outside U.S. exchanges, meaning their 13F filings capture just a small percentage of their investments. Higher disclosure thresholds in jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, where a number of US-traded Chinese companies now have dual listings, mean information is harder to come by. It is unclear whether the ADR trades were funds switching from ADRs to Hong Kong shares, vice versa, or parts of hedged trades involving Hong Kong stocks.
The most popular holdings that those six Asian sellers added to during the quarter was Trip.com Group Ltd. Ariose, CoreView, Segantii and Tairen more than tripled their combined Trip.com ADR holdings. The Chinese online travel agent’s US shares gained nearly 10% in the first quarter, extending the 26% surge in the final three months of 2022 when Beijing indicated it would ease Covid-era travel curbs. It has dropped about 20% since as investors worried about China’s longer-term economic outlook.
CoreView and Segantii also built new positions in Baidu Inc. during the quarter, when it unveiled China’s answer to ChatGPT and a planned $5 billion share buyback. It gave up some of the earlier gains amid news that China would require security reviews of generative artificial intelligence services.
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