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Hedge funds start 2012 with strong gains


Date: Thursday, February 9, 2012
Author: HedgeWeek

Hedge funds opened 2012 by posting broad-based gains in January, with the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index gaining 2.63 per cent, the second highest monthly performance figure since December 2010, according to data released today by HFR.

Equity Hedge strategies performed the strongest in January, with the HFRI Equity Hedge Index gaining 3.84 per cent, led by Fundamental Growth, Value and Energy/Basic Materials sub-strategies. Event Driven and Relative Value Arbitrage strategies posted gains of 2.4 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively, with contributions from ED: Special Situations and Activist funds, as well as RV: Yield Alternative and Convertible Arbitrage exposures. Macro strategies posted a gain of 1.1 per cent, with strong contributions from Discretionary strategies, and complemented by gains in quantitative, trend-following strategies. Both Currency and Commodity focused funds posted January gains despite underlying asset volatility; the HFRI Macro: Systematic Diversified Index posted a gain of 0.32 per cent.

The lone sub-strategy of negative industry performance was Equity Hedge: Short Bias, which declined by 8.3 per cent in January, following a 0.4 per cent gain in FY2011.
 
After trailing other strategies in 2011, hedge funds investing in Emerging Markets experienced a sharp reversal to start 2012, with the HFRI Emerging Markets Index gaining 5.3 per cent, its strongest performance since May 2009, when it returned 9.6 per cent. Hedge funds focusing on Russia/Eastern Europe and Latin America exposures led EM performance, with these gaining 9.2 and 6.9 per cent, respectively.
 
“January performance for hedge funds was driven by a number of positive factors, with these generally constituting a reversal of the cyclically high levels of risk aversion which influenced not only fundamental asset price convergence, but also capital allocations by leading investors throughout 2011,” Says Kenneth J Heinz (pictured), President of HFR. “While equity markets are off to a strong start, investors should remain cognizant of the dynamic risk environment across currencies, commodities, strategic acquisitions, fixed income and emerging markets which will continue to create opportunities both long and short throughout 2012.”