Hedge Funds Gain 1.78% In January

Feb 13 2012 | 10:37am ET

With event driven strategies leading the way, hedge funds gained about 1.78% in January 2012, trailing the S&P 500 which gained 4.36%.

Event driven funds, according to the latest Hedge Fund Monitor from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, added 2.98% in January. Short bias funds, on the other hand, turned in the worst performance, losing 2.51%—on the bright side, short bias was the only strategy that lost ground last month.

The report also looks at hedge fund positioning by major strategies, noting that in January, market neutral funds sold market exposure to 1% from 6% net long. Long/short strategies sold market exposure to 21% from 26% net long. Macro funds sold U.S. dollars, partially covered commodities and expanded their shorts in the S&P 500, NASDAQ 100 and 10-year Treasury funds. Macro funds also aggressively covered their shorts in emerging markets and Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.

As for significant moves by hedge funds across asset classes, an analysis of CFTC data by BofAML analyst Mary Ann Bartels and her team showed that large speculators partially covered S&P 500 Russell 2000 while buying NASDAQ 100 to a record $5.9 billion notional net long.

In the agriculture sector, large specs bought soybean and corn while holding steady wheat, which remains in a crowded net short.

January also saw large specs buying metals across the board; buying crude, heating oil and gasoline; partially covering the euro while selling U.S. dollars and yen; and selling 2-year Treasures while adding to their shorts in 10-year Treasuries.

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