Copycat Selling Maroons Investors as Hedge Funds Cash In

Motley Fool – What does the turmoil in the hedge fund world mean to most investors? Losses and more losses. Over the past few weeks, the forced deleveraging of the industry, combined with redemptions by frantic clients, has led to hundreds of billions in stock sales (redemptions in the third quarter amounted to $117.3 billion, according to a new report out by HedgeFund.Net), creating horrific declines in many stocks — but interestingly, not in all stocks.

According to an equity strategist for one of the most successful fund-of-funds outfits in the country, stock holdings among equity hedge fund managers are and have been highly concentrated. Described as "crowded longs," these most-favored stocks tanked in September and October as funds scrambled for cash. Overall, equity long-short funds are down 25% year to date, according to Hedge Fund Research, compared with a near-40% slide in the S&P 500. While hedge funds have outperformed, the showing certainly is disappointing for an industry that is supposedly hedged. The shortfall is because so many managers own the same stocks, and all rushed to sell at the same time. (There were more than 8,000 hedge funds operating at the start of 2008.)

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