Hedge funds posted decline in May, with the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index posting a loss of -1.6%, says Hedge Fund Research, Inc., the indexation, analysis and research provider for the global hedge fund industry. This marks the third consecutive monthly decline, reducing the year to date gain for the index to 2.5% through May. “During the volatile month of May, investors reacted to increased European bank and sovereign bond risk and weakening U.S. economic data by aggressively moving portfolios toward less risky exposures,” explains Kenneth J Heinz, president of HFR. “This
risk-off response adversely impacted certain areas of equity-sensitive hedge fund exposures, while benefitting strategies tactically positioned to insulate portfolios and produce gains resulting from the strong trends and volatile environment which materialised. In the current environment, at some level, every hedge fund is a Macro fund.”
Mirroring trends across financial markets, hedge fund performance during May was widely divergent across strategies, with macro funds posting their best monthly performance since April 2011, while equity hedge posted its largest decline since September 2011. The HFRI Macro Index gained 1.7% in May, bringing YTD gains to 1.9%, with significant contributions from systematic strategies and positions in fixed income, commodities and currencies, with limited aggregate exposure to equity market volatility. The HFRI Macro: Systematic Diversified Index gained 4.1% in May and has gained 2.9% year to date.
The HFRI Equity Hedge Index posted a decline of -4.1% in the month, paring its year to date gain to +1.8%, with declines across growth, energy and emerging markets strategies only partially offset by short bias funds, which gained over 7%. Event driven strategies fell by -1.4%, paring year to date gains to 3.1%, with weakness in activist, distressed and equity special situations funds. Falling yields and increased volatility failed to offset the impact of credit weakness as Relative Value Arbitrage funds posted a decline of -1.3%, the first decline for this strategy in 2012, narrowing year to date gains to 3.1%, for the global strategy.