Then last week, and just one month before Italy's March 4 elections - which the broader market stubbornly refuses to acknowledge are a risk factor - Bridgewater tripled down on its bearish bets against Italian banks and insurers, making the position the largest thematic short carried by the world's biggest hedge fund.
As we reported last Thursday, Bridgewater boosted its bearish bets against Italian companies to $3 billion and 18 firms, up four-fold from just over $713 million in early October, further infuriating Italian authorities. As Bloomberg added, Bridgewater's bearish bets against European companies as a whole totaled $3.3 billion, spread among 20 names. In addition to his previous negative exposure, Dalio disclosed a short position in transport-infrastructure provider Atlantia and added to its largest short bet, against lender Intesa Sanpaolo SpA.
The growing short comes just days after Dalio told a Davos audience that "holding cash is now stupid"... and literally days before the biggest market crash since Lehman.