Cathie Wood Ditched Virgin Galactic Stock Before It Surged


Cathie Wood has just missed out on a blistering rally in Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc., in a rare misstep for one of Wall Street’s biggest proponents of futuristic technologies.

As Virgin Galactic’s dramatic rebound gathered pace in the three days through Monday -- culminating in a 28% surge -- her firm Ark Investment Management slashed its remaining stake to just 45 shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The money manager has been gradually selling from May, after Richard Branson’s space-travel company plunged on technical issues and rising competition from rivals funded by Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

Ark held more than 1.7 million shares worth over $100 million when Virgin Galactic notched its all-time high in February. By the start of May, with the company down more than 60%, it had boosted holdings to more than 2 million shares valued at $45 million.

Cathie Wood Ditched Virgin Galactic Stock Before It Surged

Virgin Galactic was down 5.1% as of 9:34 a.m. in New York, and remains more than 50% down from records. But in less than two weeks it had rallied 73% thanks to a successful test flight that revived confidence in its ambition to commercialize space tourism.

The Ark Autonomous Technology & Robotics exchange-traded fund (ticker ARKQ) held the bulk of the New York-based asset manager’s Virgin Galactic shares, but has now sold them all. The Ark Space Exploration & Innovation ETF (ARKX), which was started in late March, had more than 220,000 shares worth almost $7 million shortly after its launch. It now holds the remaining few shares, worth about $1,200. ARKQ and ARKX both rose around 1% on Tuesday morning.

An Ark representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cathie Wood Ditched Virgin Galactic Stock Before It Surged

Wood’s funds weren’t alone in missing the bounce. The VanEck Vectors Social Sentiment ETF (BUZZ) also sold its holdings in Virgin Galactic just before the rebound.

The Dave Portnoy-backed fund, which picks stocks based on favorable sentiment detected in social media and blogs, sold its remaining shares in Branson’s company last week, the data show. BUZZ climbed 0.6% on Tuesday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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