The Rise and Fall of Wall Street’s Most Controversial Investor

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Around the middle of April, Cathie Wood sat onstage at the storied Fontainebleau hotel in Miami. It was an awkward time to be a keynote speaker at a conference for money managers: Wood’s flagship fund, the ARK Innovation ETF, had lost roughly half of its value over the prior year, as its aggressive bets on hot companies from Coinbase to Robinhood and Tesla had melted down amid a bear market in tech stocks.

So far, she’s been wrong — her main fund is down another 34 percent since her comments — but her firm still has more than $16 billion in assets, according to fund-tracker Morningstar.

Still, over a period of years, stocks do tend to go up. But even if the tide eventually turns back in Wood’s favor, other investors are questioning whether the self-styled futurist has a future in stock-picking, given the volatility that has become her hallmark. After all, Wood, what some call a “permabull,” could be merely the epitome of the broken-clock parable — guaranteed to be right twice a day.

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