Wires

UPDATE 1-Ray Dalio denies report hedge fund Bridgewater has bearish bet on market

market@ (Adds response from Ray Dalio)

Nov 22 (Reuters) - Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio said on Friday his hedge fund does not have a net bet that the stock market will fall, taking issue with a story published earlier in the Wall Street Journal.

The hedge fund has bet more than $1 billion that stock markets around the world will drop by March, the WSJ said in its report on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. (https://on.wsj.com/2pGbT53)

The bet, assembled over a span of months and executed by a handful of Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley, would pay off for the world's biggest hedge fund if either the S&P 500 or the Euro Stoxx 50 or both declines, the report had said.

The bet is made up of put options, contracts that give investors the right to sell stocks at a specific price by a certain date. The options expire in March and currently represent one of the largest bearish bets against the market, the report added.

"To convey us having a bearish view of the stock market would be misleading," Dalio said in a statement.

Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)