Opalesque Industry Update - TrimTabs Investment Research and BarclayHedge reported that the hedge fund industry posted an estimated inflow of $16.0 billion (1.0% of assets) in October 2010, the fourth straight inflow as well as the heaviest since November 2009.|
“Flows are doubtless following performance,” said Sol Waksman, founder and President of BarclayHedge. “Hedge funds returned 1.95% in October and 7.10% in the four months following the May-June skid. Also, our preliminary data shows that hedge funds are outperforming the S&P 500 by about 21 basis points through November.
Distressed securities funds hauled in $3.8 billion (3.3% of assets) in October, the heaviest inflow of any hedge fund strategy, while emerging markets funds posted an inflow of $2.2 billion (1.0% of assets). Meanwhile, fixed income funds received only $506 million (0.3% of assets), the lightest inflow since April.
“Hedge fund investors are exhibiting a healthier appetite for risk,” noted Waksman. “They are finally venturing into areas like distressed securities after embracing conservative strategies for most of the year.”
Commodity trading advisors (CTAs) received $7.9 billion (2.8% of assets) in October, the eighth straight inflow, while funds of hedge funds took in $3.3 billion (0.6% of assets), the fourth straight inflow. Meanwhile, hedge fund managers are capitalizing on kind conditions heading into 2011.
“Borrowing money to buy assets is virtually costless, investors handed hedge fund managers $32.1 billion in the past four months, and margin debt is soaring,” explained Vincent Deluard, Executive Vice President of Research at TrimTabs. “At the same time, the rolling 12-month beta of hedge fund returns sits below the long-term average, and that of equity long-short funds is dipping below zero. Managers should be especially eager to book fat profits through year-end, but they remain very reluctant to make directional bets on equities.”
Managers are also extremely bearish on the 10-year Treasury note, according to the TrimTabs/BarclayHedge Survey of Hedge Fund Managers. Bearish sentiment soared to 49% in November from 28% in October, while bullish sentiment sank to 13%, the lowest level since the inception of the survey in May.
“Retail investors and pension funds have been pouring money into high-flying fixed income for nearly two years,” noted Deluard. “But now hedge fund as well as retail bond inflows have ground to a halt, and mom and pop are ditching munis and junk. The more the infatuation with bond funds fades the more we fear the fallout will prove particularly ugly.”