Already, though, there have been winners and losers in the $3 trillion hedge fund industry.
The hedge fund manager Boaz Weinstein, in a note to investors in his $2.7 billion firm, Saba Capital Management, said he had positioned his portfolios to profit from bets on defaults and bankruptcy filings by companies with lots of high-yield, or junk, bonds. According to the note, which was reviewed by The Times, his main fund was up 33 percent this month.
Others paid the price for misjudging the markets.
One of the hardest-hit is Bridgewater Associates, the $160 billion colossus led by Ray Dalio, which manages money for dozens of pensions and sovereign wealth funds. The firm’s eight main portfolios reported losses for the year ranging from 9 percent to 21 percent.
Mr. Dalio has issued several apologies to investors for his firm’s poor performance.
“We are questioning if we should have done some things differently,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday. “We are exploring this and will systemize whatever we come up with into our decision-making systems.”
Other well known hedge fund companies, including Daniel S. Loeb’s Third Point and Ricky Sandler’s Eminence Capital, have taken steep losses for the year, according to several people briefed on the numbers, who were not authorized to discuss them publicly. The blindside nature of the market’s fall is clear from notes released this week from a Feb. 13 meeting that big investors had with the New York Federal Reserve.
Members of the Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets “noted that the virus posed downside risks to growth and that China would likely be particularly impacted,” according to the meeting’s minutes, which were released this week.
The committee’s members include Mr. Dalio, who wrote in his posting that the systems Bridgewater used to make its investment decisions were processing the losses and making adjustments that he believed would benefit investors in the future.
“That is how we learn and embed our learning into our system, which never forgets and processes information much more quickly, accurately and unemotionally than we can,” he wrote.