On the other hand, many hedge funds are levered through offshore facilities and in derivative contracts, whereby they can obtain leverage far greater 2-to-1. So what? Smaller losses have far greater impact on the equity of the fund.
Let's say a hedge fund's leverage is 5-to-1 and it's redemption time. In order to meet those redemptions, the hedge fund will have to sell at least $5 of investments for every $1 of required redemptions.
As redemptions tend to be clustered, the impact on individual stocks from hedge funds liquidating their holdings (to meet those redemptions) will be a magnified and concentrated hit on those stocks, and potentially the overall market.
Since the hedge funds are more concerned about creating liquidity than preserving the integrity of their portfolios during a crisis, the higher priced stocks tend to get sold first. It is far easier to create $10,000,000 of cash by selling smaller amounts of a $200 stock (say Apple (AAPL - Get Report)) than larger amounts of a $25 stock (say Altria (MO - Get Report)). And before you know it, that $200 stock has become a $100 stock. "Classic" valuation is thrown out the window.