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Alternative Market Briefing

Hedge funds end the year positively, outperform S&P in Q4

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:Hedge funds ended 2012 on a positive note returning an average of +1.5% in December, +1.8% in Q4 and ending the full year +7.3%. Returns lagged broad equity markets for the year, but outperformed in Q4 and many strategies produced strong returns for the year, according to new data from eVestment. Many strategies returned nearly 10%, with credit, volatility and emerging markets producing the year’s best returns.

Credit funds were the stars of 2012, outperforming equities and overtaking them in assets under management for the first time on record. Credit funds were up 12% over equity funds in 2012 overall. Mortgage funds followed credit, returning over 60% in the last 3 years, nearly 5x better than the average hedge fund.

FX, CTAs and equities funds all had a rougher year. Despite FX funds’ strong December on the back of a parabolic JPY/USD move, the group ended the year with some of the lowest returns out of all hedge fund strategies at 2.22%. Managed Futures rallied near the end of the year but not enough to end the year in positive territory. The strategy closed 2012 down -0.71%

Overall, the industry saw approximately $40bn of inflows through November despite often choppy performance - almost doubling last year's full total. This year is already on track to be equally tumultuous, with fiscal cliff/drag, taxes and more regulation on deck for the alternatives industry.

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