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Cathie Wood’s ARKK Sinks 20% From Peak as Tech Sells Off

Cathie Wood, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of ARK Investment Management LLC, speaks during the Sooner Than You Think conference in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. From AI-enabled robo-investing to the implications for retail of a cashless world to the impact on monetary policy if and when governments move to digital tender, technological innovation is rapidly changing our relationship to money, creating major new opportunities but also creating poorly understood risks.

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

The $24.6 billion Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK) tumbled 6.3% on Wednesday alone as growth stocks such as Pinterest Inc. and Zillow Group Inc. took a beating. The Nasdaq 100 Index lost almost 3% as traders turn away from tech in favour of so-called value stocks that had underperformed during the pandemic, bringing its losses since a peak last month to 8.1%.

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 $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.

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 about tripled over the past year. Tesla is up close to 350%, while Square has surged about 200% and Roku is up more than 240%. On Wednesday, they all slumped.

In fact, all but three stocks held by ARKK fell and three suffered losses exceeding 10%, 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 $600 million combined the past two days, after losing more than $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.”

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