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Alternative Market Briefing

Hedge funds still lagging S&P 500, commodities under pressure

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: Hedge funds continue to lag the market, according to new data from lead hedge fund analyst Mary Ann Bartels at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research. The preliminary February return for the Global Diversified Hedge Fund index was a gain of 0.17% compared to the S&P 500 gain of 1.11%. The Investable Hedge Fund weekly index is up 0.65% MTD for March, while the S&P is up 2.63%.

Commodities are also under pressure as hedge funds sell out of their positions. Macro hedge funds aggressively sold commodities for the first time since January, while other large speculators sold energy across the board out of a crowded long. Only crude remains in a crowded long position. Wheat remains on the edge of a crowded short. Funds bought gold & palladium, sold silver & platinum, and were flat in copper. Gold remains in a buy zone. Palladium stays in a crowded long.

In terms of strategies, CTA Advisors performed the best, up 1.27%. Market Neutral performed the worst and were flat for the same period. Market Neutral funds held market exposure steady at 9% net long. Equity Long/Short sold market exposure to 28% from 35% net long, below the 35-40% benchmark. Long/Short funds are showing a preference for growth over all other factors.

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