Hedge Funds Lower Bets on Rising Stocks, Goldman Report Finds

Hedge funds reduced their bets in the past year that U.S. stocks would gain as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined and credit conditions tightened, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

Such wagers accounted for 32 percent of funds’ equity investments as of June 30, compared with 45 percent a year earlier, analysts led by David Kostin said in an Aug. 21 report.

Hedge funds cut their holdings in financial, consumer and industrial companies, while investments in utilities, telecom services and materials were little changed in the period, Goldman said. Bets that financial stocks would fall accounted for 24 percent of holdings at the end of June; the previous year, 32 percent of funds’ portfolios wagered that financials would rise, the bank said.

Goldman analyzed quarterly filings of 745 hedge funds with combined equity holdings valued at $881 billion. The filings exclude trades using options and futures contracts as well as indexes that may offset funds’ equity holdings. The filings also exclude holdings of companies not based in the U.S.

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