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A recent check of the holdings of the Active Bear ETF (HDGE) reveals some interesting changes over the past week or so.

I wrote an overview of how the fund works early last week, but basically HDGE is actively managed ETF of short positions in about 50 stocks. It's not a synthetic index fund. These are real short positions with holdings that can change day to day.

Because these holdings do change, I thought it would be fun to review a few of them to get a glimpse of how the portfolio is being managed, so I compared the holdings as of July 19 to the most recent list available, dated July 30.

One of the stocks HDGE was short as of July 19 was Zynga (ZNGA), about 1.5 million shares worth. But as of July 30, that position was covered. Note that Zynga plunged about 37% last week after a disappointing report.

I also noted several new positions established.

As of July 19, the fund had no position in Groupon (GRPN), but as of July 30, the fund was short 1 million shares, representing about 1.98 % of the fund. There's a larger short position, accounting for about 2.37% of HDGE's holdings in OpenTable (OPEN), a position that was established sometime between July 19 and July 30.

Groupon reports earnings on August 13 while OpenTable reports on August 2.

Evidently HDGE had been short Open Table before because co-portfolio manager John Del Vecchio called it "one of my favorite short positions" back in April during an interview on Bloomberg's "Taking Stock."

In that interview, John said that the company had changed its revenue recognition policy, which had previously allowed them to book more revenue per quarter. That change is starting to "anniversary," meaning that comparisons to previous quarters may not be as favorable and thus may disappoint analysts. We'll see.

This will be a busy week for HDGE as earnings season continues. As Barron's Brendan Conway pointed out, more than a quarter of the fund's shorts will have reported by the end of this week, so Friday's close should be interesting if you own HDGE.

To round out the list, here are the stocks the fund was short as of July 19 but were not on the list published July 30:

  • Ancestry.com (ACOM)
  • CME Group (CME)
  • J2 Global (JCOM)
  • Quality Systems (QSII)
  • Sysco (SYY)
  • Under Armour (UA)

And here's a list of apparently new or recently reestablished short positions (in addition to OPEN and GRPN), stocks which did not appear on the July 19 list, but did appear on the July 30 list.

  • Fusion-io (FIO)
  • Jive Software (JIVE)
  • Las Vegas Sands (LVS)
  • Macy's (M)
  • Newell Rubbermaid (NWL)
  • Universal Display (PANL)
  • PAREXCEL International (PRXL)
  • ServiceSource International (SREV)

As one commenter on one of my previous articles noted:

I frequently wonder to what extent we're toward the endgame of some of the HDGE shorts playing themselves out, and he's just holding them to wring out the last bit of inflated value, or whether there have been new additions recently (implying there is a disproportionate amount of "juice" to be squeezed yet). I should peek in on the holdings more often.

It's a busy earnings season and I'll expect to have a more detailed update on some of these holdings along with some commentary from the portfolio managers next week.

For the record, the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) was up about 1.9% for the month as of July 30, but the Active Bear Fund was unchanged. A short fund that's unchanged when the market goes up? Imagine that.

Source: Active Bear Fund Exits Zynga, Currently Short Groupon And OpenTable