Bridgewater Associates LP has bet more than $1 billion that stock markets around the world will fall by March, said people familiar with the matter.
The wager, assembled over a span of months and executed by a handful of Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, +0.15% and Morgan Stanley MS, -0.53% , would pay off for the world’s biggest hedge fund if either the S&P 500 SPX, -0.16% or the Euro Stoxx 50 SX5P, +0.40% —or both—declines, some of the people said.
It is made up of put options, which are contracts that give investors the right to sell stocks at a specific price, known as a strike, by a certain date. They allow investors to shell out a relatively small amount of cash to hedge a larger portfolio or make a directional wager. The options expire in March and currently represent one of the largest bearish bets against the market.
Bridgewater paid roughly $1.5 billion for the options contracts, or just about 1% of the Westport, Conn., firm’s $150 billion in assets under management, according to people familiar with the matter.
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