Tumble in Coinbase pushes Wood’s ARK fund closer to pandemic low

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2022 Milken Institute Global Conference

By David Randall

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A collapse in cryptocurrency company Coinbase Global Inc pushed star stock picker Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation ETF down nearly 8% on Wednesday, putting it within 10% of its low touched in March 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coinbase, the fund’s second-largest holding at nearly 7% of assets, fell more than 28% to record lows Wednesday after the company missed first-quarter estimates and its chief executive said the company had no risk of bankruptcy.

The declines in Coinbase added to the pain for Wood’s ARK Innovation fund this year.

ARK did not respond to a request for comment.

The fund outperformed all other actively managed U.S. equities in 2020 on the strength of its portfolio of companies such as Zoom Video Communications Inc and Teladoc Health Inc that rallied during the pandemic-induced economic lockdowns.

That strong performance made Wood a household name and led to appearances on magazine covers and billions of dollars in inflows from retail investors, though some now consider her the poster child for the so-called pandemic bubble.

ARK is down nearly 60% for the year to date, and nearly 76% below its high in February 2021. It traded at $37.98 at mid-afternoon, 8.6% above its low of $34.69 hit in March 2020 before the Federal Reserve and Congress unleashed an unprecedented $5.2 trillion to support the economy.

In a webinar Tuesday, Wood blamed much of the fund’s losses on the Fed taking a too-aggressive path of rate hikes at a time when the global economy is in what she believes is a recession.

But other investors disagree. Matthew Tuttle, whose $460 million Tuttle Capital Short Innovation Fund shorts ARK’s portfolio, blamed Wood’s losses on “multiple compression.”

“These companies make no money, in a zero interest rate environment they can, and do, command high multiples (but) in a rising rate environment they don’t,” he said.

(Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Richard Chang)