Hedge Funds Miss March Rally, Rise 1.5%

Apr 13 2009 | 2:06am ET

Hedge funds bounced back in March, erasing their February losses and finishing the first quarter in positive territory, according to preliminary figures from Greenwich Alternative Investments.

The average hedge fund added 1.5% last month, badly lagging the equities rally: The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index returned 8.8% in March. But the Greenwich Global Hedge Fund Index trounced the broader markets in the first quarter, ending the first three months of the year up 0.4% while the S&P500 is down 11%.

Three out of four major strategy groups tracked by Greenwich AI finished March up, led by specialty strategies funds, which returned 3.1% (1.9% year-to-date), and long/short equity funds, which returned 2.5% (down 0.1% YTD). Market neutral funds rose 0.9% last month (1.6% YTD), while direction trading funds shed 1.1% on the month (down 0.7% YTD).

Among individual strategy indices, emerging markets finished on top, rising 4.8% in March (1% YTD). Value funds (3.3% in March, 0.4% YTD), convertible arbitrage funds (2.9%, 9.6% YTD), growth funds (2.7%, down 0.6% YTD) and special situations funds (2.5%, 2.4% YTD) also enjoyed an above-average March.

Just three of Greenwich AI’s strategy indices ended the month in the red: Short-sellers were victimized by the equities rally, dropped 5.7% (down 1.4% YTD), while futures funds (down 2%, down 2.1% YTD) and arbitrage funds other than convertible, fixed-income and statistical (down 1.7%, down 0.5% YTD) also lagged.

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