Hedge funds erased their early 2010 losses with a strong March, according to Hedge Fund Research.
The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index rose 2.7% last month, bring its year-to-date return to 2.56%. The gains were broad-based, with only one strategy—short bias—suffering a down month amidst the month’s stock market rally. And what a down month: Short bias hedge funds plummeted 6.6% in March and are down 7.1% on the year—the only hedge fund strategy tracked by the HFRI indices in the red through the first quarter.
The month’s returns were led by quantitative directional hedge funds, which rose 3.78% in March (3.05% year-to-date). Equity hedge funds generally did well, rising 3.53% (3.1% YTD), with the exceptions of short bias funds and equity market neutral funds, which returned only 0.69% (0.96% YTD). Technology and healthcare funds added 3.33% (2.66% YTD) and energy and basic materials funds rose 3.07% (1.78% YTD).
Event-driven funds returned an average of 2.96% (4.36% YTD), with distressed and restructuring funds jumping 3.04% (5.17% YTD, the best return for the first quarter). Macro funds returned 2.2% (0.44% YTD) and relative value funds added an average of 1.1% (3.24% YTD).
Emerging markets funds also posted extremely strong returns last month, adding 5.24% on average (3.88% YTD). Russia and Eastern Europe funds skyrocketed 10.23% (10.39% YTD), Asia ex-Japan funds added 4.37% (1.72% YTD) and global funds returned 3.63% (3.48% YTD).
Funds of hedge funds returned an average of 1.69% on the month (1.45% YTD).