Hedge funds were up 0.24% month-to-date as of March 14, according to the latest Hedge Fund Monitor from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Equity long/short funds led the way, adding 0.34%, followed by event driven funds, which added 0.29%. Macro funds were the worst performers, losing 0.31%.
According to BofAML analyst Mary Ann Bartels, market neutral funds sold market exposure to 3% from 5% net long in the monitored period while equity long/short fund bought market exposure to 23% from 21% net long. Macro funds continued to add to risk assets, according to Bartels, buying the S&P 500, NASDAQ 100 and commodities. Readings are approaching a crowded long. In addition, macros partially covered U.S. dollars and sold emerging market exposures while buying 10-year Treasuries and Europe, Australia and Far East exposures.
Looking at Commodity Futures Trading Commission data, Bartels notes that large speculators bought the S&P 500 and NASDAQ 100 futures but added to their shorts in the Russell 2000.
In agriculture, large specs bought soybean and corn while adding to their shorts in wheat, which moved back into a crowded net short.
Large specs sold gold, silver and copper; held steady platinum and bought palladium. In the energy space, speculators bought crude, heating oil and gasoline but added to natural gas shorts.
Large specs bought U.S. dollars and euros, while adding to their shorts in Yen. As for interest rates, speculators tripled their shorts in 10-yr and 30-yr Treasuries while selling 78% of their long positions in 2-yr Treasuries.