Hedge funds sell energy stocks before Middle East conflict – Goldman

By Nell Mackenzie

LONDON (Reuters) – Global hedge fund managers were selling U.S. stocks sensitive to commodities at an accelerated pace in the week ending October 6, according to a Goldman Sachs note to clients, just before the price of oil jumped more than $3 a barrel on Monday.

The surge in oil prices followed the largest military assault on Israel in decades, with hundreds dead and several abducted.

The jump in the price of crude on Monday reversed last week’s downtrend – the largest weekly decline since March – in which Brent fell about 11% and WTI retreated more than 8% amid concern about high interest rates and their impact on global demand.

The eruption of violence on Saturday threatened U.S. efforts to broker a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, in which the kingdom would normalise ties with Israel in return for a defence deal between Washington and Riyadh.

Saudi officials had reportedly told the White House on Friday that as part of the deal, they might have raised oil output, after months of supply cuts.

Hedge funds had, as of Friday, ramped up selling to the fastest pace since early June in shares of U.S. companies that manufacture chemicals, building materials and paper products, said the note from Goldman Sachs’ prime brokerage.

U.S. energy stocks saw net sales in the week ending October 6 for the second straight week in a row and in the eight previous trading sessions, the bank said.

The oil price was up by more than 3% on the day on Monday at $87.27 a barrel.

(Reporting by Nell Mackenzie; Editing by Amanda Cooper)


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