What hedge funds bet on during the March downturn

There are not many hedge funds which earn money on the unpredictable event- coronavirus. But few bets on companies, which make masks, hand sanitizer and other coronavirus-related protective products – turned out to be a relatively popular strategy and one with surprisingly mixed results. The biggest players of this sector on personal protective equipment (PPE) such as 3M Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp and Honeywell International Inc.

Hedge funds, on a net basis, sold off more than $760 million in those three stocks over the first quarter, according to Symmetric.io data, bringing the number of funds that own them down to 225 from 230. Although, during the biggest downtrend, many of the mentioned companies which make protective equipment grew. For example, one of the best performed was MSA, which makes protective face gear among other things, has gained 12% in the last four weeks but remains off 4% for the year.

Managers said that it was difficult to choose company amid roller-coaster trading fueled by fears of the virus’ spread, surging unemployment rates, tumbling oil prices and government stimulus spending.

Playing the pandemic, investors said, By the end of March, the S&P 500 stock index had ended its 11-year bull market run and was off around 20% for the year.

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