Hedge funds weren't spared the wrath of the markets in May, according to an industry benchmark.
Hedge Fund Research's HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index lost 1.59% last month. That's much less than the 6.27% the Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost, but left the average hedge fund up just 2.54% on the year.
There were few winners in HFRI's roster last month: five, to be exact. Short-bias funds, obviously, led the way with a 7.03% jump (down 3.3% year-to-date), followed by systematic diversified funds (4.09% in May, 2.92% YTD). Macro funds added 1.71% (1.85% YTD) and fixed-income asset-backed relative value funds 0.56% (6.24% YTD). And market defensive funds of funds were rewarded for their conservatism with a 0.82% return (1.24% YTD).
Otherwise, it was a bloodbath: Equity hedge funds lost 4.07% (up 1.77% YTD), event-driven funds 1.35% (up 3.13% YTD) and relative value funds 1.25% (up 3.08%). Emerging markets funds were especially hard-hit, losing 5.42% on average (up 0.79% YTD), with Russian and Eastern European funds plummeting 11.35% (down 4.45% YTD), Asia ex-Japan funds falling 5.75% (up 0.46% YTD) and Latin American funds shedding 5.57% (up 1.59% YTD).
It was no picnic for other substrategies, either: Energy and basic materials funds lost 7.76% (down 5.74% YTD), yield alternatives funds 4.88% (up 1.12% YTD) and quantitative directional funds 3.91% (up 2.26% YTD), to name a few.
Funds of funds also suffered a bleak month, except for the market defensive variety, losing 1.98% in May (up 1.5% YTD).