• Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates has upped its bet against European stocks to $22 billion (R258 billion).
  • The world's largest hedge fund has short positions on some of the continent’s largest and most recognizable companies, including Adidas, Deutsche Bank and Daimler

Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund founded by billionaire Ray Dalio, has upped its bet against European stocks, according to regulatory documents filed Wednesday.

The Connecticut-based fund, which manages about $150 billion (R1.7 trillion), has a total short bet of $22 billion (R259 billion) against some of the largest companies in Europe, according to a 13F filed Thursday. The document is a required quarterly disclosure for large fund managers.

Here are the firm’s biggest short bets against European companies, from the filing:

  • Unilever: $1.03 billion (R12 billion) 
  • Total: $1.017 billion (R11.9 billion)
  • Siemens: $970 million (R11.38 billion) 
  • SAP: $925.2 million (R10.8 billion)
  • Allianz: $878.2 million (R10.3 billion) 

Other popular brands the firm has short bets against include Adidas ($339.1 million (R3.9 billion)) and Daimler ($780 million (R9.15 billion)).

Because the filings cover the entire quarter, it’s not clear when exactly the fund made the short bets, or if it owns more short positions than long. However, an investor in Bridgewater’s Pure Alpha Major Markets strategy told Reuters earlier this month the firm was slightly long European stocks.

Short bets, or those that are profitable when a stock declines in price, could be a sign the firm is bearish on European equities or the European economy as a whole. Such positions are a mainstay of hedge fund investing.

"Recent spurts in stimulations, growth, and wage numbers signaled that the cycle is a bit ahead of where I thought it was," founder Ray Dalio wrote on LinkedIn this week.

"Frankly, it seems to be inappropriate oversight to not be talking about the chances of a recession and what that recession might look like prior to the next election."

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