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Majority of hedge funds see positive performance in January, but larger funds lag

Monday, February 15, 2021
Opalesque Industry Update - Hedge funds started 2021 on a high note with average industry performance of +1.02% with 59% of funds seeing positive results for the month, according to the just released eVestment January 2021 hedge fund performance data. This follows a tumultuous 2020 which saw the hedge fund business return an average +11.07%.

However, one early development seen in the data was under-performance among the hedge fund business' largest players. "Despite what was generally a positive month, it was a disappointing start to the year for some of the industry's larger managers," said eVestment Global Head of Research Peter Laurelli. "Among the 10 largest reporting products for January, seven were down to begin the year, putting this group into negative territory for January average returns. Even among a broader large-fund group, those funds with greater than $5 billion in AUM, the average return for January was -1.38%."

As a group, the 10 largest hedge funds underwhelmed in 2020 as well, posting an average return for the year of +2.99% compared to the overall industry's average return of +11.07%.

"Generally in January, segments which performed well mainly operated in equity and credit markets across broad corporate capital structures," said Laurelli. "Distressed funds, with average returns of +2.69%, produced the largest average gains during the month of any primary strategy eVestment tracks."

Among the primary strategies eVestment tracks, almost all of them produced positive average results in January. In addition to Distressed funds, other strong performers to start the year included Event Driven funds (+1.63% for January), Origination & Financing funds (+1.45%) and Long/Short Equity funds (+1.41%).

Managed Futures funds were the only primary strategy to see average returns in the red for January, at -0.64%.

Emerging markets returns were varied again by country of focus. Funds focused on China were generally positive, producing the best result in January (+4.50%), while those focused on Brazil were at the other end of the spectrum (-5.44% for the month).

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