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Tech Giants Drive Gains, Yet Hedge Funds Struggle to Outdo Market Indexes By Quiver Quantitative

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© Reuters.  Tech Giants Drive Gains, Yet Hedge Funds Struggle to Outdo Market Indexes

Quiver Quantitative – In the dynamic realm of equity hedge funds, the first quarter of 2023 brought both surprises and disappointments. Despite a notable boost from high-performing tech stocks, many prominent funds, including Greenlight, Schonfeld, and Pershing Square (NYSE:), failed to surpass market benchmarks, raising questions about their strategic positioning and approach to stock-picking.

PivotalPath’s Equity Sector Index reported a collective gain of 7.9% for stock-picking hedge funds during the initial three months of the year. However, this gain paled in comparison to the broader market’s performance, with the S&P 500 and Index delivering returns of 10.6% and 9.3%, respectively. Even firms specializing in tech, like Viking Global Investors, Coatue Management, and Tiger Global Management, couldn’t keep pace with these benchmarks.

Market Overview:
-Equity hedge funds, despite outperforming most other strategies, failed to beat broader market indices like the S&P 500 and in Q1 2024.
-The average equity hedge fund gained 7.9%, lagging behind the S&P 500’s (SPY (NYSE:)) 10.6% and Nasdaq’s (QQQ) 9.3% returns.

Key Points:
-Several prominent hedge funds, including Renaissance Technologies, Greenlight Capital, and Pershing Square, underperformed significantly.
-Tech-focused funds like Viking Global and Tiger Global also failed to beat the market, despite bets on popular tech stocks (Magnificent 7 Index).
-Investors in hedge funds expect uncorrelated returns or alpha, which were absent in this tech-driven rally.

Looking Ahead:
-Many hedge funds remain cautious on equity exposure after the 2022 market rout, hindering their performance.
-Light Street Capital and Whale Rock Capital, with concentrated bets on Nvidia (NASDAQ:), Microsoft (NASDAQ:), Meta (NASDAQ:), and Amazon (NASDAQ:), emerged as top performers.
-Crowding in popular tech stocks raises concerns about potential losses if momentum fades.
-Investor interest in tech hedge funds is reviving after a two-year slump, hoping to capitalize on the recent rally.

The spotlight, however, shone on select funds like Light Street Capital Management and Whale Rock Capital Management, which secured double-digit gains. These achievements were significantly driven by investments in tech giants like Nvidia (NVDA), Amazon (AMZN), and Meta (META), as detailed in the Bloomberg Magnificent 7 Index. Jon Caplis of PivotalPath noted that while equity performance wasn’t broadly impressive, tech stocks played a pivotal role in the gains made, highlighting a narrow focus within the sector.

The hedge fund landscape also revealed a hesitancy to fully reinvest in equities after the 2022 market downturn. Tech-focused funds, in particular, showed cautious increases in their Nasdaq exposure, not yet reaching their early 2022 peaks. Meanwhile, firms like Light Street and Whale Rock, with significant holdings in Nvidia, Microsoft (MSFT), Meta, and Amazon, exemplified the success of concentrated tech bets. This concentration, however, raises concerns about the risks of crowded trades, as noted by Adam Singleton of Man Solutions.

This article was originally published on Quiver Quantitative

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