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Hedge funds' net long exposure reached a new high of 53%, more than last quarter’s record of 52%

Friday, May 24, 2013

Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva: - According to Goldman, Sachs & Co.’ latest monthly Hedge Fund Trend Monitor, hedge fund net long exposure reached a new high of 53%, and the most popular (+17%) and the most concentrated (+23%) long positions outperformed the S&P500 (up 15% YTD then). However, the average hedge fund returned 5%, as shorts did not do as well, and 13% of them experienced absolute losses.

The Monitor, which analyses 705 hedge funds with $1.5tln of gross equity positions, is based on 13-F filings as of May 15th, 2013. It made eight general observations:

1. Hedge funds’ YTD average of 5% is a continuation of a multi-year trend of lacklustre relative performance.

2. Goldman Sachs’s basket of the 20 most concentrated hedge fund stocks outperformed S&P500 and has done so 69% of the time since 2001 by an average of 267bp per quarter.

3. Goldman estimates that hedge funds operate 53% net long, more that last quarter’s record of 52%. "Risk appetite had matched previous highs from 1Q 2007 last quarter," the report says.

4. The Monitor says that in Q2, "we analyzed $133 billion of gross notional single stock options held by hedge funds composed of $68 billion of calls and $65 billion of puts. In general, the sector tilts and ETF positioning in the option holdings were similar to the underlying stock holdings. Funds held more calls than puts in sectors that funds are overweight versus the Russell 3000. ETF options favor puts, ......................

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