BOSTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Daniel Loeb has told clients his firm has taken more defensive bets in the face of tumbling markets by dramatically increasing its short positions, which helped Third Point avoid "calamitous" losses last year.
The fund manager also said the firm cut stakes in companies that were exposed to China and commodity prices, which have fallen.
"A renewed focus on generating alpha on both sides of the portfolio has led us to increase single-name equity shorts by four-fold over the past year. Our total equity short exposure is nearly $4.5 billion today," Loeb wrote in a letter to clients and seen by Reuters on Friday.
Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Tom Brown