Hedge funds were down 0.29% in April, according to eVestment|HFN estimates for the month, although they remain up 4.38% YTD.
The firm says early indications show slightly negative net investor flows for April, the second negative month in a role and a reversal of the strong inflows seen mid-Q1. The hedge fund industry managed an estimated $2.54 trillion, as of April 2012.
Large funds (those with over $1 billion AUM) accounted for “virtually all reported inflows” during the month, with 54% of $1 billion+ funds reporting core growth compared to 45% of mid-sized funds (those with AUM between $250 million and $1 billion).
The negative overall result in April was due primarily to equity strategies, which fell 0.40% overall (although they’re still up 4.38% YTD). The biggest losers were energy sector funds, down 1.13%; market neutral funds, down 0.54% (up 1.83% YTD); and long/short equity funds, down 0.42% (but up 6.19% YTD).
Fixed income strategies were all positive in April, led by mortgage funds, which were up 0.74% on the month (and 5.64% YTD) and distressed funds, up 0.38% on the month (and 6.65% YTD).
Multi-strategy funds shed 0.16% on the month (but are up 2.88% YTD). Within this category, the biggest losses were posted by commodity strategies which lost 1.55% due to volatile markets (they’re up 1.07% YTD).
Emerging markets funds were down 0.17% overall (up 7.85% YTD). The worst performance in April was that of Russia-focused funds, which fell 5.72% on the month (but are up 7.32% YTD).
According to Peter Laurelli, vice president of eVestment Alliance, the “story” of 2012 “continues to be that investors do not yet appear interested in increasing exposure to equity markets despite the early strong returns. Credit and macro/commodity funds continue to receive net inflows, but macro fund flows are dominated by the larger strategies which have generally performed better.”