(Bloomberg) -- Cathie Wood’s flagship exchange-traded fund closed out its Nvidia Corp. stake in early January. Then, came the artificial intelligence frenzy that sent the stock and its big tech peers on a tear.
The chipmaker has added around $560 billion in market capitalization since Wood dumped her shares — with the last $200 billion of that surge coming overnight after the company handily beat earnings.
Although Wood holds Nvidia across several of her smaller funds, investors in the flagship ARK Innovation ETF (ticker ARKK) have mostly been left out of this year’s blistering 161.58% rally.
In February, when Nvidia traded for $234 a share, roughly 50 times forward earnings, Wood said the valuation was “very high.”
“We like Nvidia, we think it’s going to be a good stock. It’s priced —it’s the ‘check-the-box’ AI company,” Wood told CNBC on Feb 27. “For a flagship fund, where we’ve consolidated towards our highest conviction names, part of that has to do with valuation.”
A spokesperson for ARK Investment Management said the company doesn’t comment on trading activity.
Wood has been a long-time fan of Nvidia, but her conviction on the stock has wavered at times.
When ARKK first launched in 2014, the chipmaker was one of the fund’s top holdings. And since the fund’s inception, Nvidia has contributed 13% of the fund’s 112% total return, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Only Tesla Inc., the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, and Invitae Corp. have contributed more to the ETF’s total return since inception.
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“I’m sure Cathie would have loved to have had Nvidia on this recent pop, but Nvidia has been very good to her. She was into the stock before it was cool,” said Eric Balchunas, senior ETF analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
But her big bets on Nvidia were before the chipmaker became a megacap stock. For newer ARKK investors, Wood has left a lot of Nvidia gains on the table.
In October — when the stock started to recover from its lowest level since August 2020 — ARKK held over 750,000 shares. Wood trimmed that position to just under 39,000 shares by late November, slashing that to zero by mid-January, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Despite ARK’s focus on disruptive innovation, its flagship fund is mostly absent of the AI-linked stocks that have soared this year. As of 2:44 p.m. New York time, ARKK was down 3% on the day, while Nvidia soared 25% and the Nasdaq 100 was up 2.4%.
Her remaining Nvidia stake spread across four smaller ARK ETFs is worth $150 million. Wood holds $25 million of Nvidia peer Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in the ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW). Other artificial-intelligence linked stocks like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and C3.ai aren’t in any of the ARK portfolios.
“This is one risk with concentrated active managers — that they miss a theme or the right names within that theme,” said Todd Sohn, an ETF strategist at Strategas. “It’s strange ARK doesn’t have more semis exposure given their importance in the AI/autonomous play.”
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