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Hedge funds end year positively but fail to keep pace with the stock market in 2012

Friday, January 18, 2013
Opalesque Industry Update: In December, stocks confirmed the rebound of the previous month with a significant progression of the S&P 500 index (+0.91%), according to EDHEC-Risk. Implicit volatility (18%) was slightly on the rise but still in the low range. For the full year, the S&P 500 generated a comfortable 16% return, considerably above its average performance since the inception of the EDHEC-Risk Alternative indices (January 1997).

On the fixed-income market, a mixed situation prevailed: convertible bonds (+2.04%) remained on the rise whereas regular bonds (-0.40%) registered their worst score in four consecutive months of losses. After last month’s setback, the credit spread (+0.44%) grew again. Commodities (-0.53%) dropped slightly, wiping out its remaining profits of 2012. The dollar (+0.19%) recorded a third consecutive month of progress.

In this context, all hedge fund strategies (except Short Selling) surprisingly managed significant gains. Despite the profits of the stocks market, the Convertible Arbitrage strategy (+1.05%) managed profitability, backed by the rises in risky bonds and the credit spread. Despite the falls in both commodities and regular bonds, the CTA Global strategy (+0.63%) achieved a positive performance.

Benefiting from the good performance of stocks, both the Long/Short (+1.60%) and Event Driven (+1.90%) strategies yielded comfortable profits. With a more limited exposure to stocks, the Equity Market Neutral strategy (+0.39%) naturally scored moderately.

Globally, in December, the Funds of Funds strategy (+1.09%) slightly outperformed the S&P 500 index. However, over the year, none of the hedge fund strategies could keep up with the stock market.

EDHEC Risk

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