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Qube builds biggest ever Barclays short position

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Qube Research & Technologies, the London-based quant hedge fund firm spun out of Credit Suisse in 2018, has built the largest ever short position against Barclays, representing 0.73% of the bank’s stock, according to a report by The Times.

Qube’s short wager comes despite a recent uptick in the bank’s stock price after Chief Executive CS Venkatakrishnan unveiled a turnaround plan aimed at reviving the lender’s fortunes, and suggests that Qube, or its algorithms, believe the rally will be temporary.

Venkatakrishnan, who has been under pressure to boost Barclays’s stock market valuation to bring it more inline with its European and US peers, pledged on 20 February to return at least £10bn to shareholders over three years, cut costs and lift annual revenues to £30bn by 2026.

Shares have since surged by 20% to 177.5p, the stock’s highest level in a year.

The report cites regulatory fillings as revealing that Qube has been increasing its short wager against Barclays during the course of the share price rally, after reaching the 0.5% threshold that triggers disclosure of short bets to City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), on 27 February.

The report also quotes a Qube spokesman in saying that the company’s trading did not reflect a “fundamental view on any individual name” and that the firm had “no specific view on Barclays”.

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