Billionaire investor George Soros has upped what so far has been a losing bet on the U.S. stock market, according to recent filings.
The hedge fund manager and active supporter of progressive causes added bearish options plays to his portfolio during the first quarter.
His two primary plays — against large-caps via the S&P 500 and small-caps via the Russell 2000 — have a notional, or potential, value of $764.3 billion, according to an analysis from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The plays are through his family office Soros Fund Management.
They continue a trend he began in 2016 of betting against the market, moves that haven’t worked out well considering the latest leg in the bull market. The S&P 500 is up 5.7 percent this year while the Russell 2000 is up fractionally at 0.3 percent.
As of the end of the quarter, Soros held 3.3 million shares of the iShares Russell 2000 exchange-traded fund puts, an increase of 36 percent from the previous quarter and carrying a notional value of $459.6 million. He increased his holdings of SPDR S&P 500 puts by 162 percent from the fourth quarter to 1.3 million shares, carrying a notional value of $304.7 million.
A Soros spokesman declined comment.
Puts are options to sell positions at an agreed-upon price and date.
It was a mixed bag otherwise for Soros, according to holdings in his 13-F form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A complete look at Soros’ stock positions:
He added to positions in social media with a losing bet on Snap, which is off 15.5 percent since its initial public offering in March, but raised his stock ownership of Facebook, which has surged 28.3 percent.