By David Randall
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Star stock picker Cathie Wood's ARK Innovation ETF tumbled more than 7% and hit its lowest level since November 2020 on Friday as bets on a more aggressive Federal Reserve pushed investors to sell the high-growth, high-valuation stocks that rallied during the early stages of the pandemic.
The declines in ARK's portfolio were widespread, with nine out of its 10 top holdings falling as a selloff in technology stocks pushed the benchmark S&P 500 down 1.3%. Tesla Inc, its largest holding, shed nearly 4%, while Teladoc Health Inc, its second-largest holding, dropped 5.2%.
ARK, whose outsized holding of so-called stay at home stocks helped it outperform all other U.S. equity funds last year, is down 25% over the last month. Those declines have come as investors increasingly anticipate that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates in the year ahead, which would weigh on growth stocks by discounting their future cash flows.
Friday's declines may have been bolstered by a U.S. employment report showing that the U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs last month, pushing the unemployment rate to a 21-month low of 4.2%.
"Ultimately the lower unemployment rate could help build confidence that the economic growth we've been seeing will continue regardless of what happens with Omicron, and that will push investors out into small-caps and cyclicals instead of the stay at home and technology trades," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that the central bank is open to accelerating the pace of its tapering program, essentially removing its support of the economy faster than it originally anticipated.
Friday's declines pushed the ARK Innovation fund down 24.5% for the year to date, well behind the roughly 20% gain in the benchmark S&P 500 over the same time.
Roku Inc, for instance, dropped 4.1% Friday, leaving it down nearly 40% for the year to date, while Spotify Technology SA fell 1.4%, leaving it down 28.3% for the year to date.
ARK Invest did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
(Reporting by David Randall in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)