A key group of investors has just missed out on the biggest tech-stock rally since 2014.
Hedge funds and other large speculators turned net short on Nasdaq 100 Index futures for the first time in 21 months, according to weekly data compiled by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission through Feb. 13.
In fact, they became the most bearish since 2011. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy index gained 5.6 percent in the five days through Friday, the most since October 2014.
Even though technology stocks led the rebound in the S&P 500 Index last week, the piling bets against the Nasdaq 100 may signal there’s room for equities to move higher. While hedge funds may be bracing for pain to come, eventual short covering may add fuel to the rebound following the recent turmoil.
The flip to net short follows a similar bearish outcry expressed in the $61 billion PowerShares QQQ Trust Series last week. The fund saw its biggest five-day outflow since the 2000 dot-com bubble as investors yanked nearly $4 billion in the five days through Feb. 9.
As the market rebounded last week, the cost of hedging against price swings on another exchange-traded fund tracking the industry fell the most among sector ETFs. The 30-day implied volatility for the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund tumbled 39 percent in the period through Friday, after hitting a high on Feb. 8.
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