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STOCK MARKET: Cathie Wood says exodus from high-cost cities will

STOCK MARKET: Cathie Wood says exodus from high-cost cities will push down inflation as Ark heads to St. Petersburg

Cathie Wood, founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management LLC, speaks during the Skybridge Capital SALT New York 2021 conference in New York City, September 13, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Closely followed innovation investor Cathie Wood said the migration trend playing out in her own company is further evidence that investors should fear deflation instead of inflation.

Wood — founder, CEO and CIO of Ark Invest —is moving her investment firm’s headquarters to St. Petersburg, Florida on Nov. 1. The disruptive innovation investor said that individuals and companies flocking to more affordable areas of the country should keep inflation at bay.

“The cost of living [in St. Petersburg] is anywhere from 20% to 40% less than in New York City and that includes the rents,” Wood said during an Ark Invest webinar Tuesday.

“The exodus, or the great migration is from the very high-rent areas of the world to much lower rents. So there’s going to be a mix effect that many are not taking into account as they’re thinking about inflation,” she added.

Wood has been vocal about her theory on deflation. While many market participants are concerned about rising prices, the Ark Invest founder expects deflation amid a breakdown in commodity prices, gridlock on tax policy in Washington and innovation trends taking off.

The hot-handed investor is also trying to put St. Petersburg, which is west of Tampa, on the map for the innovation community.

“We believe that St. Pete wants to become the next Austin and attract tech companies, attract innovation,” Wood said. “We’re seeing all levels of the government work together this very cohesively, which is very refreshing. They are very excited that Ark is hereto help with that process.”

The company also announced last week the groundbreaking of the Ark Innovation Center will take place during the first quarter of 2022 in St. Petersburg. This will include a facility to help attract and retain top talent by supporting entrepreneurs and tech start-ups in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay region, according to Ark’s news release.

“I think this region of the world is going to burgeon, this region of our country is going to burgeon because of its focus on innovation,” she added.

Wood also added that St. Petersburg is “incredible” from a quality of life perspective.

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