Ark adds US$171 million Tesla shares as short bets on ETF soar

Ark adds US$171 million Tesla shares as short bets on ETF soar

Cathie Wood's Ark Invest funds bought a further US$171 million of Tesla shares on Tuesday, the fund group said on Wednesday, after the electric carmaker's stock fell sharply and closed below US$700 for the first time this year.

Logo of Tesla is seen at a branch office in Bern
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Tesla is seen at a branch office in Bern, Switzerland March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

LONDON: Cathie Wood's Ark Invest funds bought a further US$171 million of Tesla shares on Tuesday, the fund group said on Wednesday, after the electric carmaker's stock fell sharply and closed below US$700 for the first time this year.

The US$26.6 billion ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund (ETF), one of the best-performaing ETF's in 2020, fell sharply this week along with Tesla as momentum stocks pulled back sharply. Tesla shares account for about 10per cent of the fund.

The sell-off triggered heavy trading, with US$5 billion of ARK Innovation shares changing hands on Tuesday - more than double the previous session's volume. The fund traded slightly higher on Wednesday but has lost 9per cent this week.

Meanwhile, short interest in the fund's shares showed a massive spike, with 100per cent of the shares available for shorting currently out on loan, FIS Astec Analytics data showed.

Short sellers typically borrow and sell shares they expect to fall in value, hoping to buy them back at a lower price to pay back the loan and pocket the difference.

David Lewis of FIS Astec Analytics said his firm's data on borrowing costs suggest potential buying of the ETF as the price falls.

According to Ark Invest's website, the Tesla share purchases were carried out in three instalments worth about US$124 million, US$39 million and US$8 million. On the same day Ark Invest's funds also sold US$126 million of Taiwan Semiconductor's U.S.-listed shares.

Ark Invest now holds a more than 0.5per cent stake in Tesla for a weighting of 6.6per cent across all its funds.

Tesla shares rose 2.6per cent in U.S. pre-market trade on Wednesday after losing as much as 13.4per cent in the previous session, dragged down by heavy losses in Bitcoin, in which Elon Musk's company recently invested US$1.5 billion.

The ARK Innovation fund has large positions in so-called momentum stocks, which tend to attract investors based on thematic trends rather than fundamentals or valuation.

(Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan in London and Danilo Masoni in Milan; Editing Louise Heavens and David Goodman)

Source: Reuters

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