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Cathie Wood scoops up bombed-out Coinbase shares, but is she buying the dip or catching a falling knife?

May 12, 2022, 3:52 PM UTC

Always on the hunt for high-growth companies trading in “deep value territory,” a down-on-her-luck Cathie Wood scooped up shares in crypto exchange Coinbase on Wednesday in a bid to bolster her sagging fortunes.

crypto evangelist who attempted to launch her own Bitcoin investment vehicle, the founder and CEO of ARK Invest bought roughly $29 million worth of Coinbase stock across three of her exchange-traded funds.

It is a bold call, given that confidence in the underlying crypto market is seemingly in a free fall. According to data from CoinGecko, digital tokens lost an aggregate 9% over the past 24 hours.

While “buy low, sell high” is the motto of every successful investor, only time will tell whether Wood is a savvy bottom-fisher or if she is simply catching the proverbial falling knife.

After marking the seventh-biggest U.S. listing at the time in April of last year, Coinbase has plummeted as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens proved not to be the inflation hedge investors thought. 

Just this week alone, Coinbase lost half its value amid jitters over the plunge in the stablecoin Terra. 

A chunk of the decline in the stock came after the company published disappointing Q1 results on Tuesday and warned customers their crypto wallets it holds on a custodial basis were not safe and could be liquidated to pay creditors in the event of bankruptcy.

‘Kiss of death’ for Coinbase

CNBC’s Jim Cramer sharply criticized the move.

“It really is true that Cathie Wood is the kiss of death, usually you don’t want to say that, but I think you have to throw out all the bromides and really speak truthfully,” the Mad Money host said. “She’s awful.” 

Initially the purchase did little to boost the Coinbase stock price, but later it surged to trade 5% higher at $56.50.

Wood had long been celebrated as a star investor for her prescient embrace of disruptive tech stocks during the monster rally of the pandemic, and received glowing coverage in the media for her über-bullish bet on companies like Tesla. The Financial Times ran a profile last March entitled “A tech investor doing God’s work,” a reference to her deep religious beliefs.

Yet recently she has seen a fall from grace, with her flagship ARK Invest fund hitting lows not seen since before the pandemic. Currently, it’s trading above $38 after peaking at $152.61 last February thanks to bad calls on pandemic stocks like Zoom and Teladoc.

The dreadful performance has raised questions about whether her strategy only worked in a bull market environment where the Federal Reserve flooded Wall Street with cheap, plentiful money and stimulus checks helped retail investors join the party.

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