Sun, Oct 23, 2016
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Opalesque Futures Intelligence

Index Tracker: Long commodities vs. managed futures: what the indexes say.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Long Commodities vs. Managed Futures

In the previous section, Ira Kawaller argues that long-only commodities do not on the whole add to a portfolio's return over the long term. This is an ongoing debate of increasing importance as long-only commodity index investments grow.

As far as index data goes, long commodities make big returns at times and big losses at other times. The past few months demonstrated this. In September, the S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index gained 9.4%, but that was after losing almost 5% in August. By contrast, managed futures returns were solid for both months (Chart 1). One notices hat managed futures is less volatile and tends to vary within a narrower range.

CHART 1 Long Commodities vs. Managed Futures in Recent Months


September August
Dow Jones Credit Suisse Managed Futures 2.8% 4.9%
DJ-UBS Commodity Index 7.3% -2.6%
S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index 9.4% -4.9%


Look back over the years and you see a similar pattern. A long-only commodity index like the S&P GSCI can make the outsized gains, like the 33% it returned in 2007. Managed futures indexes do not show that kind of profit even in very good years, although individual CTAs can have very high returns.

On the other hand, the S&P GSCI went down by 47% in 2008, while managed futures proved its ability to act as a hedge in a market downturn (Chart 2).

The key issue is preserving capital. Long-only commodities lose so much in bad years, an investor that stays with a commodity index-based fund has less capital to take advantage of the surges. Not so with a diversified portfolio of managed futures programs. Losses are muted - so more of a long-term investor's capital is preserved for making money when market conditions favor the strategy.


This article was published in Opalesque Futures Intelligence.
Opalesque Futures Intelligence
Opalesque Futures Intelligence
Opalesque Futures Intelligence
Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing

  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. M&A - U.S. hedge fund HarbourVest is shock winner in the £1.1bn SVG Capital takeover saga, Hedge fund Parvus shows hand, toppling William Hill merger deal[more]

    U.S. hedge fund HarbourVest is shock winner in the £1.1bn SVG Capital takeover saga From The fierce battle to buy Britain's biggest private equity group has come to an unexpected conclusion, with the original bidder walking away with the prize. SVG Capital has agreed

  2. Marc Lasry: Energy is still a phenomenal opportunity[more]

    From Distressed debt specialist Marc Lasry said energy debt is still a "phenomenal opportunity" because investors can get "massively overpaid" for the risk they take on. There are "huge opportunities" in the energy sector especially in restructurings, the Avenue Capital Group CEO said Tues

  3. Opalesque Exclusive: Ex-SAC manager re-emerges with market neutral hedge fund[more]

    Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva for New Managers: A manager re-emerged from the SAC battleground last year to launch his own hedge fund under the umbrella of New York-based investment firm Endicott Group.

  4. North America - Hedge-fund manager Kyle Bass says the U.S. is on track for stagflation, Billionaire hedge fund titans Dinan, Lasry on election, markets and best investment ideas[more]

    Hedge-fund manager Kyle Bass says the U.S. is on track for stagflation From Kyle Bass, founder of Hayman Capital Management, on Wednesday warned that the U.S. is headed toward so-called stagflation. Stagflation is typically described as persistently high inflation and hi

  5. Macro hedge funds up 3.3% in one week on Fed and Brexit pays off[more]

    Komfie Manalo, Opalesque Asia: Hedge funds were boosted by the strong performance of global macro funds, with the Lyxor Global Macro Index gaining 3.3% as of the week ending Oct. 11 (-1.7% YTD), Lyxor Asset Management reported. Their short on the p