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Hedge funds bet on tough times ahead for US consumers

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Hedge funds have upped their short positions in US consumer discretionary stocks while taking long positions in consumer staples suggesting they see tough times ahead for US consumers, according to a report by MarketWatch.

The report cites the latest from prime lending data from Goldman Sachs as revealing that short sales have outpaced long buys by a 1.4-to-1 ratio, led by increased shorting in hotels, restaurants and leisure, specialty retail and cars.

In terms of specialty retail, Goldman’s data shows that the aggregate long-to-short ratio now stands at 1.13, down from 1.35 in July, a one-year low.

While the S&P 500SPX index has gained 17% so far this year, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT, a basket of  retail stocks, is up just 3%, and has fallen by 17% from its February high.

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