Astenbeck Bounces Back

Mar 10 2014 | 2:49pm ET

Times have been tough for Astenbeck Capital Management, which suffered its worst-ever year in 2013 and looks likely to be tossed overboard by co-owner Occidental Petroleum. But firm founder Andrew Hall proved last month that he can't be counted out.

Astenbeck enjoyed its best month in two-and-a-half years in February, rising 7.7% to erase January's decline, Reuters reports. The $3.6 billion fund is up 5.4% on the year.

Hall is no stranger to volatility: In 2012, he was down 10% through August following a 14.4% drop in May, but managed to end the year up 3.4%. Astenbeck wasn't able to repeat the feat last year, when it lost 8.3%; the firm has suffered only two losses in its history, in 2011 and 2013.

Astenbeck benefited from rising oil prices, themselves buoyed by the cold winter suffered by the U.S.

Occidental, which bought Hall's Phibro proprietary trading desk from Citigroup in 2009, is thought to be mulling an end to its relationship with the famed oil trader. The company said last month that it would spin off its California unit and cut back on the type of trading practiced by Hall.

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