A number of large block trades on Friday credited with causing big drops in a clutch of stocks were linked to investment fund Archegos Capital, a source familiar with the situation said, raising worries about more volatile trading in the coming days.
Shares in ViacomCBS Corp. and Discovery Communications Inc. tumbled around 27 per cent each on Friday, while U.S.-listed shares of China-based Baidu Inc. and Tencent Music Entertainment Group plunged during the week, dropping as much as 33.5 per cent and 48.5 per cent, respectively, from Tuesday’s closing levels.
Investors and analysts cited blocks of Viacom and Discovery shares being put in the market on Friday for likely exacerbating the decline in those stocks. Viacom was also downgraded by Wells Fargo on Friday.
The block trades were linked to sales of holdings by Archegos, a source familiar with the situation said, confirming reports elsewhere. CNBC reported on Saturday that the selling pressure was because of liquidation of positions by family office Archegos Capital Management, citing a source with direct knowledge of the situation, and the Financial Times and Bloomberg reported the link earlier on Sunday. The link with Archegos was also earlier reported by IPO Edge.
A person at Archegos who answered the phone on Saturday declined to comment. Archegos was founded by Bill Hwang, who founded and ran Tiger Asia, according to a page capture of the fund’s website. Tiger Asia was a Hong Kong-based fund that sought to profit on bets on securities in Asia.
Some market participants said last week’s wild moves were likely to make investors increasingly cautious.
“It’s insane,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. “When you consider how some of these companies have skyrocketed over the last few months, there will be concerns that we are overlevered.”
Other market participants said potential unwinds would only have a limited impact on broader markets. The Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 both surged over 1 per cent on Friday despite the sharp selloffs in Viacom and other stocks.
“These stories around fund liquidations happen from time to time,” said Michael Antonelli, market strategist at Baird. “Some of the names where big blocks were traded on Friday might see some near-term volatility as traders wonder whether the selling is complete.”
Mike O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading said he expected the trades to “largely be done.”
“The prime brokers made lots of noise in marketing these blocks,” Mr. O’Rourke said. “They knocked the stocks down aggressively in order to get the trades done.”
Mr. O’Rourke added that prime brokers typically go long the remnants of the position, and he expected most of the names involved in the block trades to be “gapping up significantly higher” in premarket trading.
A number of banks were involved in the block sales. A source familiar with the matter said on Saturday that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was involved in the large block trades. The Financial Times reported that Morgan Stanley sold US$4-billion worth of shares early on Friday, followed by another US$4-billion in the afternoon.
A source familiar with the matter said Deutsche Bank was involved with the block trades as well.
Bloomberg and the Financial Times on Saturday reported that Goldman liquidated more than US$10-billion worth of stocks in the block trades.
An e-mail to clients seen by Bloomberg News said Goldman sold US$6.6-billion worth of shares of Baidu, Tencent Music and Vipshop Holdings Ltd, before the U.S. market opened on Friday, the Bloomberg report on Saturday said.
Following this, Goldman sold US$3.9-billion worth of shares in ViacomCBS, Discovery, Farfetch Ltd., iQIYI Inc. and GSX Techedu Inc., according to the report.
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