Hedge Funds more negative on US stocks in weekly ISI poll, with net exposure down to its lowest since last March when the market hit a bottom. Gross exposure to stocks fell too, indicating this leveraged spec crowd added to short positions. This is important as this institutional segment becomes an greater market force, with global hedge fund assets now esitmated at around $1.2 trn, with 11,000 funds in operation versus 8,000 a year ago. On top of this, more model-driven spec funds benchmarked to the big cap 500 index will be closely eyeing the 1078 level which saw bargain hunters buying y"day as it marks the 200 day mov avg support. The Nasdaq is already below this long-term support. The big cap 500 index risks a like fate if the April CPI release due tomorrow delivers an upside shock for firmer Fed rate hike expectations.