Ray Dalio's flagship hedge fund at Bridgewater Associates ended the first quarter down about 20%, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Bridgewater extended this year's decline after getting caught on the wrong side of the market sell-off that began in late February as a result of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. The firm's Pure Alpha II strategy fell about 16% in March after posting smaller losses in the first two months of the year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn't public.
Mr. Dalio, who earlier this year urged investors not to miss out on an opportunity to benefit from strong markets, wrote in mid-March that the pandemic hit the firm at the "worst possible moment" because Bridgewater's portfolios were tilted to benefit from a rise in the market. Bridgewater, with roughly $160 billion in assets, manages the world's biggest hedge fund.
The firm's Pure Alpha Major Markets fund, which invests in a subset of the markets traded by the broader strategy, fared better. The largest version of the major markets strategy, which targets volatility of 14%, fell about 3% in March, bringing year-to-date losses to about 8.5%, according to one of the people.