By Nell Mackenzie
LONDON (Reuters) – Hedge funds last week “aggressively” bought U.S. stocks at the fastest pace in two years, said a Goldman Sachs note, with traders jumping into a stock rally fuelled by hopes that the U.S. central bank rate pause might stick.
Global funds bought up U.S. equities in the week up to Nov. 3, in the largest five-day buying spree since December 2021, according to Goldman’s prime brokerage trading desk in a note dated on Friday.
This left some caught in a squeeze, the bank said in a note on November 2, when short positions became too expensive to hold as stock prices rose.
Many got tangled up trying to flee crowded trades which became losing positions, Goldman Sachs said in that note.
All three major U.S. stock market indexes soared into Friday after a multi-session rally – five consecutive days for the S&P 500 and six for the Nasdaq – to nab their biggest one-week percentage gains of 2023, so far.
Hedge fund long positions in information technology stocks reached the largest in eight months, said Goldman Sachs.
A long position expects stockprices to rise, whereas a short bet hopes they will fall.
Speculators favoured tech for long positions, including software companies. They were also bullish towards consumer discretionary companies like restaurants and fashion with products and services that people buy but don’t need, said the note.
Health care and financial stocks were net sold, the note said.
The largest hedge fund buying centered on North America, while Europe and Asia apart from Japan which were subject to the net short positions, said Goldman Sachs.
October had seen fund managers dump $3 billion of China equities sharply, according to a Morgan Stanley report citing data from fund flow tracker EPFR.
(Reporting by Nell Mackenzie; editing by Dhara Ranasinghe and David Evans)