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By Carolina Mandl
NEW YORK, June 16 (Reuters) - Bridgewater Associates has placed at least $6.7 billion in bets against European stocks, according to data group Breakout Point, in a sign that the hedge fund firm may be pessimistic about companies on the continent.
Using Bridgewater's public disclosures, Breakout Point calculated that the Connecticut-based fund has bet against 21 European companies so far this week, in sectors ranging from finance to energy. Among its biggest short bets are semiconductor-equipment supplier ASML Holding NV ($1 billion), energy company TotalEnergies SE ($705 million) and drugmaker Sanofi SA ($646 million).
Banco Santander SA, BNP Paribas SA and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA are also in the list of Bridgewater's short positions, as well as insurance companies Allianz SE, ING Groep NV and AXA SA, according to Bridgewater.
"When it comes to magnitude of short-selling, we don't recall any other money manager coming close to this, except for Bridgewater itself," said Breakout Point, adding that the hedge fund founded by billionaire Ray Dalio had similar bets back in first quarter of 2018 and 2020.
Breakout Point used public disclosures to make calculations about Bridgewater short positions. Under European regulation, funds have to disclose bets over 0.5% short interest, which means Bridgewater's bets against European stocks could be bigger.
It is not clear, however, if those positions are a hedge against other bets. Bridgewater, which manages $150 billion in assets, did not immediately comment on the matter.
Bridgewater's bets become public in a week when central banks across Europe and in the United States raised interest rates to fight inflation, in a move that could tip economies into recession. Newspaper Financial Times first reported on Bridgewater's bets against shares in European companies.
(Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)