Bank of America Merrill Lynch is out with some recent data on hedge fund portfolio positioning as of the first week of December. Per their hedge fund monitor report, we see that hedge funds were still very much long equities as they have overweighted that asset class as well as energy and precious metals. We also learn that they were covering shorts in 10-Year Treasuries and the US dollar index. Those two short positions have been widespread in hedge fund land for some time now as hedgies bet on inflation via rising rates and a weak dollar. While in the past we’ve covered specifics like what 10 stocks are most popular amongst hedge funds, we’re taking a step back today to highlight the broader picture.
Overall Exposure Levels
Long/Short Equity Hedge Funds: While most L/S funds typically have had 30-40% net long exposure historically, December kicked off with hedge funds net long by around ~45%. This comes after long/short funds had hit a multi-year high level of 50% net long in mid November. Some recent action by these funds suggest that their inflationary expectations are declining and they have been shifting from value and high quality names into small cap names.
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