"We saw huge dispersion during the month and a significant rotation away from momentum names," analyst Rick Teisch said of the selloff in stocks with a high potential for growth. "Several high-flying, widely owned tech and biotech stocks were hit especially hard, which triggered selling in other names and led to weak performance for several funds."
Teisch, director of U.S. research at $7 billion fund of hedge funds Liongate Capital Management, said the March losses should be put in context. "Many of these funds came into the month with sizable gains and are still well ahead of the market on a year-to-date basis," he said.
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March was particularly cruel to John Thaler's JAT. The firm's main fund fell 9 percent over the month, leaving it down 5.6 percent for the year, according to a person familiar with the situation. That's a sharp reversal from 2013, when the fund gained 30.6 percent net of fees.
Large JAT technology stock holdings, according to a public filing in December, included Amazon, Google, Netflix and Pandora. A spokeswoman for JAT declined to comment.
Another big loser was Philippe Laffont's Coatue. The firm's main fund fell about 8.7 percent in March, leaving it down 7.4 percent for the year, according to a person with knowledge of the performance. Large public holdings as of December were Amazon, Baidu, Facebook, Google, Netflix and LinkedIn.
Coatue gained nearly 20 percent in 2013, according to Institutional Investor's Alpha. A spokesman for the firm declined to comment.
Some tech-heavy funds were able to stem losses.
One example was Boardman Bay Capital Management, an approximately $100 million hedge fund run by Will Graves. The firm's main fund fell about 1 percent in March but is still up 3.9 percent for the year, according to a person familiar with the performance.
Boardman Bay lost on Facebook and other stocks for the month, but gained on Cisco Systems, EMC Corporation and telecommunications stocks, according to the person.
Graves declined to comment.
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