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Hedge funds suffer in volatile market, but outpace other benchmarks, offer bright spots

Thursday, May 12, 2022
Opalesque Industry Update - April was a difficult month in the investment/financial markets, and the global hedge fund business was no exception, with the aggregate industry return at -1.68% for the month, dragging year to date (YTD) returns further into the red at -2.59%, according to the just-released April 2022 eVestment hedge fund performance data. But on the bright side, the hedge fund business still performed better than many other industry benchmarks (see chart below) and among those funds that did perform well, some performed exceptionally well.

The average return of -1.68% is a result of just 36% of the funds eVestment tracks producing positive results in April and the difference between average gain (+3.7%) and average loss (-4.7%) was the largest in 17 months.

"In spite of overall disappointing numbers for the hedge fund business this year, there are bright spots among the major fund types and strategies eVestment tracks and within those categories as well," said eVestment Global Head of Research Peter Laurelli. "Times like these highlight the importance of hedge funds in a balanced portfolio and the role of solid due diligence when considering which type of funds and which individual funds in which to invest."

Managed Futures funds followed one of their best monthly returns on record in March with another strategy-leading return of +3.73% in April. The universe's average 2022 YTD return of +13.55% is now more than two times the next best performing strategy (Macro, +6.60%). The largest products in the space have continued to outperform as well. The 10 largest reporting managed futures strategies had an aggregate return of +4.97% in April and are now at +16.10% YTD.

As noted, Macro funds are also performing well so far this year, with April aggregate returns for these funds standing at +2.08% and YTD returns at +6.60%. The 10 largest Macro funds however are lagging the full strategy segment, with these largest funds seeing aggregate returns in April of +1.20% and YTD returns at +2.56%.

The only other primary strategy in the green for both April and YTD, behind Managed Futures and Macro funds, were Distressed funds. These funds managed to eke out a +0.13% aggregate return in April and have returns of +0.56% YTD.

Among primary hedge fund markets eVestment tracks, Equity-focused funds were the big performance losers in April, with aggregate returns of -3.99% in April and YTD returns at -7.79%. This is a sharp turnaround from a streak of double-digit positive returns Equity funds enjoyed from 2019 to 2020.

The challenges in Equity markets filtered down to Equity-focused strategies as well. With aggregate returns of -4.87% in April and -5.87% YTD, Event Drive-Activist funds are among the worst performing primary hedge fund strategies eVestment tracks. Long/Short Equity funds are also performing poorly, at -4.31% in April and -7.42% YTD. Funds focused on Equity sub-sectors Financials, Energy, Healthcare and Technology were also in the red to one degree or another in April and YTD.

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