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RPT-Hedge fund Bridgewater makes $22 bln bet against European firms

From Reuters - February 14, 2018

(Repeats from FEB 14, no changes to text)

* Top global hedge fund shows hand on European firms

* Bridgewater founder cautioned of global confidence swing

* Short positions in Germany, France hit $12 billion

By John ODonnell, Maiya Keidan and Lawrence Delevingne

LONDON/FRANKFURT/NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Bridgewater has shown its hand in Europe with a $22 billion bet against some of the continents biggest companies, filings reviewed by Reuters show, part of a bigger shift by the worlds largest hedge fund manager.

Although data was not available to show whether Bridgewater holds more European stocks than it shorts overall, an investor in the hedge fund firms Pure Alpha Major Markets strategy said that its position was slightly net long on Feb. 6.

But Bridgewater had reduced that long exposure significantly this year, the investor added.

Bridgewater, which declined to comment on its trading, bets on macro-economic events and has $160 billion under management.

Unlike the United States, where hedge funds are not required to disclose short positions, European rules brought in as a result of the financial crisis require publication once they go above a certain threshold.

Short selling is a mainstay of hedge fund investing and is driven by expectations that shares will fall, which means they can later be repurchased at a lower price to make a profit.

Although the filings do not say when Bridgewater first took out its European short positions, many of its above-threshold disclosures are recent, with some in Germany, Italy and France in the past two weeks.

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