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Cathie Wood Boosts Robinhood Buying With Stock at Record Low

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(Bloomberg) — Cathie Wood stepped up buying of Robinhood Markets Inc. shares as the online broker’s stock dropped to a record low following earnings that fell short of Wall Street expectations.

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Wood’s firm ARK Investment Management bought nearly 2.44 million Robinhood shares on Friday, the most since its stock market debut in July, according to trading data from Ark compiled by Bloomberg. The buying came on a day when the firm’s stock at one point dropped below $10, before staging a rebound in line with the broader U.S. market.

Robinhood still trades 67% below its initial public offering price and ranks among the worst high-profile global stock market debuts during the pandemic, joining the likes of China’s Didi Global Inc. and London’s THG Plc.

Wood’s flagship ARK Innovation ETF bought 1.95 million shares of Robinhood on Friday, while the ARK Next Generation Internet ETF and ARK Fintech Innovation ETF each bought more than 230,000 shares, according to the asset manager’s daily trading updates.

Ark, which is already one of the firm’s top shareholders, has bought its shares almost every week since late October, when the stock dropped below its IPO price of $38, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Ark’s flagship fund has struggled after advancing nearly 150% in 2020. As vaccines rolled out and economies reopened, investors dumped speculative tech stocks and started buying names that would benefit from a broader recovery, leading ARKK to a 24% decline last year.

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s pivot toward rate hikes is exacerbating the pain this year, with ARKK falling another 27% so far in 2022. Short interest as a percentage of shares outstanding in the ETF has climbed to a record 11% earlier this month, according to data from IHS Markit Ltd.

Wood and her firm frequently say that their investment horizon is at least five years, and acknowledge that the disruptive companies they target are often volatile. Ark’s daily trading updates show only active decisions by the management team and do not include creation or redemption activity caused by investor flows.

(Updates to add ARK Innovation ETF’s performance this year starting in sixth paragraph.)

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