(Bloomberg) — Gabe Plotkin’s Melvin Capital Management ended the first half of 2021 down 46% as the hedge fund struggled to bounce back from a vicious attack by Reddit traders on its short positions.
The firm, which plunged 53% in January as its bearish bets on companies including GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. were besieged by a retail-driven buying spree, was up about 1% in June, according to people familiar with the matter. After initially posting a strong rebound of 22% in February, Plotkin has lost momentum in recent months.
Some hedge fund observers question whether Plotkin — who has changed the way he makes short bets in the wake of the fiasco — can still produce blockbuster returns without taking aggressive positions against companies. In Melvin’s first year of trading, 70% of the fund’s profits came from his bearish wagers.
“I don’t think investors like myself want to be susceptible to these type of dynamics,” Plotkin testified during a House Financial Services Committee hearing, referring to the astronomical level of short interest in GameStop stock that preceded the volatility.
Bloomberg has reported that his firm, which managed $11 billion as of June 1, is also taking smaller-sized positions to limit exposure to single companies. Plotkin also told his team of data scientists to scour social media and message boards to look for shares that retail investors are rallying around.
A spokesman for the firm declined to comment.
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