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Sunday, 6 March 2022

Tech funds have taken a beating — but some bore the brunt more than others + The rental sneakers business is booming

Tech funds have taken a beating — but some bore the brunt more than others: With tech stocks falling out of favor in the past few months and the Russia-Ukraine war adding further pressure, tech-focused funds are (broadly) in the red, writes the Wall Street Journal. Out of 153 tech funds tracked by Chicago fund-research firm Morningstar, only three achieved positive returns for the period between 1 November and 28 February — the best of which saw its price rise only 2%. Meanwhile, other funds have lost nearly half of their value during the period.

Semiconductors have emerged as a safe-haven of sorts: In general, funds that have erred on the side of caution have been hit less, with those focused on semiconductors and dividends suffering fewer losses — or even remaining in the black. This comes amid “newfound skepticism of high earnings multiples and promises that earnings will arrive sometime in the future,” the WSJ writes.

Meanwhile, funds focused on crypto, tech giants, and fintech haven’t been faring well: More volatile funds — such as those focusing on crypto or FAANG stocks — have underperformed in the past period. Fintech funds have also fallen to the bottom of the food chain, despite recently being an investment darling. In order to regain footing, investors need to avoid contributing to a major selloff that would turn temporary losses into permanent losses — especially since funds and ETFs have little flexibility to shake up their holdings, Cathie Wood from Ark Investment Management told CNBC.

Rental sneakers for all: KYX World, a sneaker subscription platform, has raised USD 3 mn in its second round of seed financing, bringing the total valuation of the Los Angeles- based company to USD 16 mn, reports the Wall Street Journal. The startup’s chief executive said the funds will be used to build an app and expand operations. KYX, which has 2k active subscribers and 10 K pieces of inventory, currently offers three subscription plans for its users to rent and buy iconic shoes. The monthly platinum subscription, which will set you back USD 169, enables users to rent two pairs of sneakers per month. 37% of US consumers are now opting to buy their footwear online, according to Matt Powell, senior sports industry advisor at the NPD Group. As consumer behaviors continue to change, online sneaker forums are booming. StockX LLC, another sneaker platform that also sells streetwear and collectibles, has amassed a whopping USD 3.8 bn valuation in 2021.

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