‘Big Shorts’ Burry ‘made a great call’ during 2008 housing crisis but Cathie Wood says he doesn’t get ‘explosive growth’ opportunities in innovation and space

Michael Burry vs. Cathie Wood.

It’s a battle of investment minds for the ages and one in which the investment thesis around disruptive technology trends, in areas from innovation to space exploration, is in the crosshairs.

On Tuesday, investing luminary Wood defended her optimistic case for her big technology bets, like Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
-2.98%
,
and Virgin Galactic Holdings
SPCE,
-0.36%
,
and other investments, that she thinks will reshape the globe, via her popular ARK Innovation ARKK exchange-traded fund.

Burry, who shot to fame for predicting the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008 and was featured in the Michael Lewis book and movie “The Big Short,” is taking the other side of Wood’s bets.

In a series of tweets, Wood said that Burry, this time, doesn’t get it.

“To his credit, Michael Burry made a great call based on fundamentals and recognized the calamity brewing in the housing/mortgage market,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “I do not believe that he understands the fundamentals that are creating explosive growth and investment opportunities in the innovation space,” she concluded.

“The equity market is likely to reward disruptive innovation strategies,” Wood wrote.

In a public filings on Monday, Burry disclosed that his firm, Scion Asset Management, as of the end of the second quarter, held bearish put options against 235,500 shares of Wood’s actively managed that are valued at over $30 million.

Put options, give the holder the right, but not the obligation, to sell the underlying security at a set price.

Wood’s ARKK and other funds are sitting on huge gains since the pandemic-inspired bear market lows of last March. The performance has turned Wood into one of Wall Street’s star stock pickers but it also has made her a target for those who are wagering that a change in the complexion of the market, prompted by higher inflation and an eventual rise in interest rates, will pummel her strategies.

Wood is clearly betting otherwise and thinks that her investments will prosper as the global economy is on the verge of a technological inflection point that could see sweeping changes in everything from computing and wider adoption of growing technologies like electric vehicles and autonomous driving.

Shares of Ark Innovation were down 1.4% on Tuesday but have made up some ground in the past three months, to be up nearly 12%, after being whacked lower in February. However, the ARKK, referring to the flagship fund’s ticker symbol, is down 7.6% so far in 2021, underperforming against the broader market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.79%
,
for example is up 3.1% in the past three months and is up nearly 16% in the year to date. The S&P 500 index
SPX,
-0.71%

is up 7% over the past three months and has gained nearly 19% so far in 2021, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index
COMP,
-0.93%

is up almost 10% over a three-month period and has climbed about 14% through August.

Roy Walsh

Roy Walsh

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