(Bloomberg) — The outsized gain that turned Cathie Wood into one of the world’s most famous proponents of active fund management is quickly evaporating as some of her favorite stock picks tumble.
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After years of trouncing the market and just days after Wood issued a broadside against passive investing, her flagship ARK Innovation ETF now looks set to give up all the outperformance it once enjoyed against the S&P 500 Index. Wood’s strategy of picking stocks involved in “disruptive innovation” has fallen victim to the tech meltdown as investors flee high-priced growth shares in an environment of rising interest rates and high inflation.
From inception, the fund’s net asset value has still grown to $45.59 on Friday from $20.12 in the last week of Oct. 2014 when it launched — a gain of about 127% — according to figures from the company’s website. But the S&P 500 had a total return of 136% over the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The situation worsened Monday when ARK Innovation slumped almost 10%, compared with a 3% slide in the U.S. benchmark index. Wood’s firm didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent after business hours.
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The shift in sentiment against tech stocks has created a perfect storm for Wood, the founder of Ark Investment Management LLC. Rising interest rates eat into equity valuations while concerns about economic growth have cooled speculative ardor — putting the shares of companies betting on new technologies particularly at risk.
ARK Innovation has slumped almost 70% from last year’s peak.
To be sure, not all of Wood’s funds have given up their outperformance. The smaller ARK Next Generation Internet ETF has still handily beaten the S&P 500 since inception even after tumbling from its high, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Wood appears committed to the tech space despite recent losses. In recent tweets she suggested the global economy is undergoing the largest technological transformation in history and talked up the potential for Zoom Video Communications Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
Ark’s Cathie Wood Battles Feedback Loops as Tech Stocks Plunge
The chair of Britain’s financial regulator has cautioned against a rush to add crypto markets to the agency’s remit after the government launched an ambitious bid to draw up new regulation and make the UK a crypto hub.
Charles Randell, chair of the Financial Conduct Authority, called for “realism” about how long it would take the regulator to prepare to supervise issuers and traders of “purely speculative crypto tokens”, and how much crypto firms need to improve before they could be officially authorised.
He also stressed the importance of the FCA’s independence at a time when some in the crypto industry have urged the government to press the regulator to be more accommodating of digital assets.
“It’s critical that . . . there are strong safeguards to ensure that all interests — not just the interests of people making money from pushing crypto products, but also the interests of the people whose savings will be put at risk — are heard,” Randell said, in a speech on Friday. “That requires a strong and independent financial conduct regulator.”
The FCA chair, who is expected to leave his post this spring, also said it was not clear how the regulator would pay for the “very significant costs” of adding crypto oversight to its responsibilities.
Randell’s comments follow a speech from economic minister to the Treasury John Glen in April, which laid out the government’s ambition to make the UK “the very best place in the world to start and scale crypto-companies”.
Glen said the government was determined to attract global crypto players to set up shop in the UK, a plan that would include new regulation and probably mean handing more powers to the FCA.
The bid to compete with rival crypto centres, such as Switzerland and Dubai, was met with scepticism by digital asset businesses. Many UK crypto entrepreneurs think the FCA is implacably opposed to digital assets, and crypto companies have clashed with the regulator over how it has implemented money laundering controls.
Randell said the regulator is open to innovation, including using distributed ledger technology and the potential for properly regulated stablecoins — crypto tokens linked to traditional assets like the US dollar — to “reduce costs and frictions” in the payments sector and shake up the industry.
However, Randell questioned the objective of overseeing more speculative cryptocurrencies. “Should people be encouraged to believe that these are investments, when they have no underlying value?” he said.
“When the price of Bitcoin can readily halve within six months, as it has done recently, and some other speculative crypto tokens have gone to zero?” he added.
Randell said he was opposed to including crypto firms under the financial services compensation scheme, which would mean the pot of money collected from regulated financial companies would be available to compensate their customers. The financial services industry as a whole should not be “exposed to the costs of failing crypto firms”, he noted.
The FCA chair, who has previously spoken about the need to control advertising for crypto, returned to the subject of endorsements by entertainment personalities.
“With celebrities as varied as Kim Kardashian and Larry David willing to take money to promote speculative crypto, how do we curb people’s enthusiasm to do something that may seriously harm their financial lives?” he said.
SNL U.S. Natural Gas Next-Day Prices ($ per mmBtu)
Hub Current Day Prior Day
Henry Hub 8.21 8.53
Transco Z6 New York 7.82 7.75
PG&E Citygate 9.78 9.98
Dominion South 7.62 7.55
Chicago Citygate 7.93 8.08
Algonquin Citygate 7.94 8.04
SoCal Citygate 8.19 8.68
Waha Hub 7.33 8.01
AECO 4.58 6.41
SNL U.S. Power Next-Day Prices ($ per megawatt-hour)
Hub Current Day
New England 70.00 78.75
PJM West 153.50 131.75
Ercot North 80.00 77.75
Mid C 18.25 19.19
Palo Verde 37.50 41.00
SP-15 51.25 53.00
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
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