Exchange traded funds are slowly but surely catching on with more individual investors and advisors, but hedge funds managers have been using ETFs for years to make quick bets on stocks and precious metals.
For example, the three largest and newest additions to Louis Bacon’s Moore Capital hedge fund were ETFs that covered consumer staples, utilities and dividend stocks, reports Stephen Taub for Institutional Investor. Moore also had sizable positions in a telecom ETF and gold miners.
Additionally, Moore Capital had a large put option on a S&P 500 ETF, which was somewhat hedged by call options on the same ETF. The firm also had a large call option on an ETF that follows 25 Chinese companies, which was hedged with a smaller put exposure on the same fund. [Trading Activity Rising in ETF Options]
Jeff Vinik, one-time Fidelity money manager, of Vinik Asset management holds ETF investments as five of the six largest holdings in the firm’s portfolio, including a $1 billion position in the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY), iShares Russell 2000 Index (NYSEArca: IWM) and PowerShares QQQ (NYSEArca: QQQ). Together, the three funds made up more than one-quarter of Vinik’s U.S. equity holdings at the end of the third quarter.
Coatue Management, founded by Tiger Cub Philippe, also had a $150 million position in the Nasdaq-100 ETF.
Highbridge Capital, headed by co-founder Glenn Dubin and owned by JPMorgan Chase, bought $1.76 billion worth of the S&P 500 ETF in the third quarter.