For Cathie Wood's ARK Invest, a fund company known for its focus on innovation stocks and high price targets, the new year didn't bring a fresh start in terms of performance.
The company's flagship exchange-traded fund, the ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund (ticker: ARKK), suffered its worst day in trading since September 3, 2020, when it lost 7.1 percent. All of ARK's other exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including the most recent, ARK Transparency (CTRU), which was launched in December, are also in the red.
Growth stocks fell on Wednesday following the release of the latest minutes from the Federal Reserve's December policy meeting, which suggested that the central bank's rate increases may be implemented sooner and more aggressively than the market had anticipated.
Investors were alarmed when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell changed his tone to emphasize the risks of inflation after months of describing rising prices as "transitory." The shift came as a new Covid-19 variant was spreading across the country and causing supply-chain disruptions, causing panic among investors.
The S&P 500 fell by 2 percent in the final two hours of trading on Wednesday, growth stocks within the index fell by 3 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell by 3.3 percent.
While the ARK ETFs were among the worst-performing funds on Wednesday, they were not the worst-performing funds overall. Aside from ARK Innovation, ARK Genomic Revolution (ARKG) was down 7.1 percent, ARK Fintech Innovation (ARKF) was down 6.6 percent, and ARK Next Generation Internet (ARKW) was down 6.2 percent in the same period. In addition to blockchain and cannabis stocks, clean energy and technology stocks were all in the red on Friday afternoon.
Following on from ARK funds' year-long struggle, they suffered yet another setback on Wednesday. ETFs in the ARK family were among the best-performing funds in 2020, with an average gain of 150 percent as the pandemic accelerated the adoption of many emerging platforms and technologies owned by the companies in the funds' portfolios.
But since reaching their zenith in February 2021, the funds have been falling rapidly, erasing nearly all of their gains from the previous year. Rising inflation has made the future cash flow of growth-oriented innovation companies less valuable today, and investors have sought safer havens such as cheaply traded cyclical stocks in order to maximize their returns on their investments.
With the Federal Reserve's hawkish pivot, it appears that the volatility in growth stocks and ARK funds will continue in the foreseeable future. However, if inflation can be kept under control following the Federal Reserve's tightening policy in 2022, innovation stocks may experience a brief rebound—though this will not happen anytime soon.
Cathie Wood's flagship fund, ARK Innovation, has been caught in the midst of a wave of tech selling this week, and some analysts believe the stocks that underpin her strategies will fall even further before reaching a bottom.
The exchange-traded fund, which is focused on innovation, was down more than 48 percent from its all-time intraday high of February 2021 when it hit its low of the day on Thursday morning. That represents a worse decline than the one experienced by the fund in March of 2020, at the bottom of the pandemic market rout.
On Thursday, ARK Innovation's stock price fell 0.6 percent to $85.58 per share, a 0.6 percent decline.
The "Halftime Report" on CNBC reported that "this is worse than March of 2020" for that segment of the market. Josh Brown, co-founder and CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, said this on the show. "I find that to be quite remarkable."
An increase in interest rates is the primary reason for the selling this week, which contributed to the ETF's 9 percent decline over the past week. Higher interest rates typically penalize growth pockets of the market that rely on low interest rates to borrow money to invest in new technologies. Furthermore, when interest rates are rising, their future earnings become less attractive.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose as high as 1.75 percent on Thursday, continuing a trend of rising rates to start the year, fueled by the Federal Reserve's signal that policy will be tightened more quickly than expected this year.
In an interview with CNBC's "Halftime Report," Stephen Weiss, chief investment officer and managing partner of Short Hills Capital Partners, stated, "I still don't believe the Cathie Wood stocks are at a low enough price." "There will be continued pressure," says the author.
"Inflation has arrived. I believe the Federal Reserve will be aggressive. "The Federal Reserve wants you out of risky assets," he continued.
At the time of writing, 36 of the 43 holdings in ARK Innovation have lost more than 40% of their value from their 52-week highs. ARK Innovation has invested in a variety of companies, including Tesla, Roku, Teladoc Health, and Zoom Video, to name just a few.
"The performance of Cathie Woods ARKK has been so dismal that it has cast a pall over every holding, despite the fact that it is not a hedge fund and cannot be shot against. Opportunities to discuss are tempting, but they are difficult to come by... CNBC's Jim Cramer said on Twitter on Thursday that the company was experiencing a "tough streak."
According to FactSet, the underperformance of Wood's flagship ETF this week has resulted in more than $280 million in fund withdrawals from the fund since Monday.
ARK Innovation's tumultuous start to 2022 follows a difficult year for the company in 2021, during which its stock fell by 24 percent.
Ark's forecast has not changed as a result of the decline in Wood's stock prices that began in mid-February of 2021. Wood explained that she is simply taking advantage of lower stock prices to purchase her most conviction stocks. According to her predictions, this will result in a quadrupling of the economy over the next five years.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - One year after her Ark Innovation ETF more than doubled in value and made her a household name, star stock picker Cathie Wood is poised to join a small club that no one aspires to be a member of: portfolio managers whose funds have gone from first to worst in the span of a single calendar year.
Currently, the $16.7 billion exchange-traded fund is on track to finish the year down nearly 24 percent, making it one of only two actively-managed equity funds tracked by Morningstar to post a decline of more than 20 percent this year, at a time when the benchmark S&P 500 index is up slightly more than 21 percent.
Those losses are a far cry from the performance of the fund, which focuses on leaders in "disruptive" innovation, in 2020, when it soared thanks to its heavy bets on so-called "stay at home" stocks that thrived during the early stages of the pandemic, enabling the fund to post the best performance of any actively managed fund in the United States tracked by Morningstar during the same period.
As a result of Wood's aggressive growth strategy, only 14 out of 6,190 equity funds tracked by Morningstar since 2004 have experienced a similar swing from high to low in less than a year, demonstrating the risks associated with the company's strategy, according to Robby Greengold, an analyst at Morningstar.
It appears that Cathie Wood is less cautious than her peers when it comes to embracing high-risk names, according to the author.
For the purposes of this story, Ark Invest did not respond to a request for comment.
Her strategy has fallen out of favor recently, according to Wood, who has stated in recent webinars that it has done so because of temporary concerns about rising inflation, but that deflation will prove to be the greatest source of concern for financial markets and the economy in the year ahead.
Wood stated that despite the stock's losses for the year to date, "our confidence in our strategy has increased." [L1N2SZ25L]
The losses in the ARK Innovation portfolio are widespread, with eight of the fund's ten largest holdings having suffered losses of at least 8% over the previous 12 months. The most significant declines have occurred in Zoom Video Communications Inc and Teladoc Health Inc, both of which have lost more than 50% of their value for the year after rallying last year, as well as streaming company Roku Inc, which has lost nearly 30% of its value for the year.
Among the fund's top ten holdings, Tesla Inc. and Intellia Therapeutics Inc. are the only ones to have posted positive returns for the calendar year so far.
The fund gained 3.8 percent on Tuesday and is down 40.4 percent from its all-time high reached in February.
Despite the losses, investors appear to have remained committed to Wood's method of doing business. As of December 15, according to Lipper data, the fund had brought in slightly more than $5 billion in new money for the year, including nearly $229 million during the week that ended December 15.
ARK Innovation has maintained its position as one of the best-performing mid-cap growth funds over the last five years, generating an annualized return of 38 percent.
The fund's "tremendous success in 2020 was always going to be difficult to duplicate, but many piled in to start 2021 and have remained loyal despite a disappointing 2021," according to Todd Rosenbluth, head of mutual fund research at CFRA, a New York-based investment advisory company. "This bodes well for 2022, when many people will have a renewed sense of hope that they will not have to struggle in consecutive years."