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Alternative Market Briefing

Hedge funds take on defensive positions

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bailey McCann, Opalesque, New York: Macro hedge funds are taking on defensive positions according to a new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research. Macros are maintaining their preference for large-cap,and adding to their shorts in the S&P 500 and NASDAQ 100, partially covered commodities and 10-year Treasuries. According to Mary Ann Bartels, lead hedge fund analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Market Neutral funds bought market exposure to 4% from 3% net long. Equity Long/Short maintained market exposure at 23% net long, well below the 35-40% benchmark level.

The investable hedge fund composite index was up 0.29% last week (as of July 11), compared to down 2.37% for the S&P 500. CTAs and Macros had the best week, Equity Long/Short performed the worst. According to BofA's models, Equity Long/Short funds have reduced their large cap and quality tilt.

In Commodities, funds continued to buy soybean, corn and wheat while selling out of gold, silver and covering shorts in copper. In Currencies, funds added to their shorts of the Euro, while beginning to buy the US Dollar again. Notably, funds doubled their notional Yen positions to $1.4bn notional from $0.7bn notional last week.

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