Hedge Funds Off 0.54% In August

Sep 18 2013 | 10:40am ET

Hedge funds edged lower in August on fears about Syria and the Federal Reserve's plan for its bond-buying program.

The Barclay Hedge Fund Index dropped 0.54%, cutting its year-to-date return to 5.2%. The decline was significantly lower than that suffered by the broader markets, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index giving back more than 3% on the month.

Short-bias funds feasted on the selloff, rising 3.04% on the month. Fixed-income arbitrage funds rose an average of 0.73%, convertible arbitrage funds 0.69% and technology funds 0.62%. None of those strategies are among BarclayHedge's best performers for the year—indeed, short-bias is far-and-away its worst performer, down 17.05% through August. Leading the pack in 2013 is healthcare and biotechnology, up 15.97%, Pacific Rim equities, up 14.35%, equity long-bias, up 11.42% and distressed securities, up 10.64%.

August's biggest losers were emerging markets (down 1.37%), global macro (down 1.27%), equity long-bias (down 0.74%) and equity long/short (down 0.59%).

"Uncertainty over the Fed's tapering timeline and possible U.S. military intervention in Syria were primary drivers of an August global equities selloff," BarclayHedge founder Sol Waksman said. "Rising U.S. interest rates raised fears of fund outflows from net debtor emerging countries that rely on foreign investment."

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