BofAML Says Hedge Funds Up 2.39% In Q1

Apr 2 2012 | 12:34pm ET

Hedge funds were up 2.39% quarter-to-date as of March 28, according to the most recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch Hedge Fund Monitor.

The investable hedge fund composite index underperformed the S&P 500 which was up 11.76% in Q1 2012. Event driven and equity long/short were the best performers for the quarter, up 5.76% and 3.94%, respectively. Market neutral performed the worst, losing 1.42%.

Breaking the performance down by major strategies, BofAML analyst Mary Ann Bartels says their models indicate that market neutral funds held market exposure steady at neutral. Equity long/short maintained market exposure at 31% net long. Macros bought the S&P 500, NASDAQ 100, 10-year Treasuries and commodities, while selling U.S. dollars, emerging markets and Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia to a net short.

Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission shows that large specs partially covered the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 during the first quarter while selling the NASDAQ 100.

Agriculture speculators bought soybean, sold corn, and held wheat steady. Soybean is in a crowded long while wheat is in a crowded net short.

Bartels says large specs bought gold but sold everything else, including silver, copper, platinum and palladium. In energy, large specs bought gasoline, but sold crude, heating oil and natural gas. Heating oil and crude are in a crowded long.

In the forex market, speculators sold U.S. dollars and added to their euro and yen shorts. As for interest rates, speculators partially covered 30-year Treasuries while adding to 10-year and 2-year shorts.


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