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Renaissance Technologies hedge fund drops 5.4% after correction

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Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund that in January warned clients of a “significant risk” of a correction, lost 5.4% this month through Feb. 9 as stock markets slumped.

Since Jan. 1, the Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund (RIEF) is down 3.4%, according to an investor document seen by Bloomberg News. RIEF trades only U.S.-listed equities and is biased toward stocks that Renaissance’s models expect to rise. It’s designed to outperform the S&P 500 by 4 to 6 percentage points and managed about $22 billion as of the end of last year.

The stock plunge of the last two weeks spurred a spike in volatility, hurting those who were betting on market calm and raising suspicions that quants had caused or exacerbated the sell-off. Renaissance’s head of risk control, Ed Hubner, wrote in a December letter sent to clients last month that while accelerating global growth and U.S. corporate tax reform have helped contribute to market gains, it’s not clear these factors justify current valuations.

Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for East Setauket, New York-based Renaissance, declined to comment.

Renaissance uses complex algorithms for trading. The quant firm was founded in the 1980s by former military code-breaker Jim Simons, who ceded control of Renaissance to deputies eight years ago.

The top 20 funds are from just three asset managers: Fidelity, Vanguard and American Funds.
February 7

In contrast to RIEF, Renaissance’s Medallion Fund is perhaps the world’s greatest moneymaking machine and mainly invests money for the firm’s roughly 300 employees. That fund has produced about $55 billion in profit over the last 28 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg News