HFR Reports Hedge Funds Up 1.72% In Jan.

Feb 3 2012 | 2:15pm ET

The HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index gained 1.72% for the month of January, amid strong gains for global equities, glimmers of hope in U.S. economic data and improved sentiment with regard to the European debt crisis.

Broken down by strategy, HFR reports event driven funds added 2.80% in January, their strongest showing since May 2007. Distressed funds added 3.10% for the month, their strongest performance in 22 months, while special situations funds gained 2.18%. M&A activity continued with deals in the pharmaceutical and technology sectors, helping merger arbitrage funds add 0.51% in January.

Equity hedge funds were up 2.07%, their best showng since December 2010, with gains concentrated in energy/basic material, financials and technology/healthcare sectors. Fundamental growth strategies added 2.11%, benefitting from exposure to U.S. small cap, Latin America and Asia ex-China, while fundamental value funds added 0.96%, thanks to European positioning while Japanese exposure detracted. Equity market neutral funds added 0.41% for the month.

Relative value arbitrage strategies added 1.72% for January, with gains across all relative value strategies: convertible arbitrage funds added 2.13% and RVA multi-strat funds gained 1.59%. Fixed income-corporate strategies ended the month in the black but yield alternative/energy infrastructure funds experienced declines.

Macro/CTA funds gained 0.09% for the month, thanks to fixed-income and agricultural commodities exposure, partially offset by declines in systematic diversified funds. Systematic diversified CTAs shed 1.00% to start the year. Discretionary global rates currency managers posted gains, while commodity strategies had mixed performance.

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