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Long/Short Investments in L/S Equity: Valuation and Ideas,

Bridgewater Associates – Top Equity Holdings

Bridgewater Associates is the world’s largest hedge fund and staffs approximately 1,500 people. Over the course of its existence as a hedge fund, it’s returned in the mid-to-upper teens on an annualized basis.

Bridgewater is a “global macro” fund and invests in much more than US equities and is not systematically biased toward being long the market. Accordingly, what Bridgewater’s 13F report isn’t especially helpful regarding what kind of portfolio(s) the firm creates, as only long-equity positions are disclosed, with no mentions of shorts, derivatives, or other types of securities.

The firm builds a mutual-fund like product as one of its portfolios that is designed to give steady returns over time. For this purpose it uses low-cost ETFs, which accounts for the fact that these instruments are its top equity holdings by percentage, including VWO, SPY, and IEF.

Bridgewater was heavy on oil in the previous quarter, which is still apparent, but it is currently more conspicuously long traditional brick-and-mortar retail than it had been previously. Among its top individual equity positions include M, BBBY, RL, KSS, and TGT.

The fund’s long-oil bias (going based on the long equity portfolio at least) is apparent with its top individual position in SWN and further exposure to DVN, CHK, FE, NFX, GE, FCX, and NE.

Three smaller-scale banks are on the list in RY, TD, and BNS. Pharmaceutical companies ESRX and ENDP have taken big hits over the past year. US stalwarts INTC and PG also round out a pretty conservative slate.

If there is anything we can say from this portfolio is that it appears fairly contrarian leaning. Brick-and-mortar retail and oil are among the poorest performing sectors this year and were in 2015 and 2016 as well. INTC and PG have also recently been generating below-market returns. Apparently, Bridgewater is keenly focused on keeping its long portfolio oriented toward a “value” approach, or perhaps “anti-growth” in not taking chances in the higher-growth names that have disproportionately been leading the market this year.

This is not a portfolio that would have done particularly well based on recent history.

The complete list of holdings can be found below: