Hedge funds edged up slightly in March but still ended the first quarter badly trailing the broader markets, according to the Credit Suisse Index Co.
The Dow Jones Credit Suisse Hedge Fund Index rose 0.12% last month, bringing its year-to-date figure to 2.21%. By contrast, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up some 6% in the first three months of the year.
Still, it could have been worse, according to Oliver Schupp, president of Index Co.
"As evidenced by the daily performance of the newly launched Dow Jones Credit Suisse Core Hedge Fund Index, hedge funds fell approximately 1% mid-month before they rebounded to recover losses suffered following tsunami-related events in Japan," he said.
Returns varied widely among hedge fund strategies in March. Emerging markets funds jumped 2.12% (1.66% year-to-date) and equity market-neutral funds added 1.11% (3.46% YTD), but no other strategy managed a positive return above 1%. Likewise, managed futures funds dropped 2.76% on the month (down 1.05% YTD) and dedicated short bias funds fell 1.78% (down 5.88% YTD), but were the only two to lose more than 1%.
Multi-strategy funds were up 0.79% (4.32% YTD), risk arbitrage funds 0.59% (2.3% YTD), long/short equity funds 0.28% (2.28% YTD) and global macro funds 0.15% (0.65% YTD). On the other side of the ledger, convertible arbitrage funds lost 0.61% in March (up 4.88& YTD), event-driven multi-strategy funds lost 0.37% (up 3.27% YTD), fixed-income arbitrage funds lost 0.31% (up 2.31% YTD), event-driven funds lost 0.26% (up 3.01% YTD) and distressed funds lost 0.1% (up 2.66% YTD).