Hedge funds posted positive returns in March amid mixed returns in global markets. The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index was up 0.71%1during the month, while the MSCI World Index2 gained 1.76% in March.
Key takeaways for the month of March 2013:
Early reports indicate positive asset flows to hedge funds in March; 1Q 2013 witnessed positive asset flows of US$20 billion
Japanese hedge funds witnessed the strongest quarter on record, up 10.78% in 1Q 2013
Launch activity picks up in 2013 with nearly 200 funds launched so far in the year
Asia ex-Japan and European hedge funds outperformed underlying markets by 2.3% and 0.41% respectively
Distressed debt and event driven were the best performing strategies in 1Q 2013, up more than 5% each year-to-date
The asset-weighted Mizuho-Eurekahedge Asia ex-Japan Index grew 6.35% in 1Q 2013
Main Eurekahedge Indices
Long-Only Absolute Return Fund Index
Eurekahedge Regional Indices
Eastern Europe & Russia
North America witnessed a continuation of the rally in equity markets amid positive economic data, while Japanese stocks also extended their winning run with further devaluation of the yen. European markets underperformed during the month as concerns over the region's sovereign debt situation resurfaced due to Cyprus' banking crisis and questions over its bailout.
Returns were mixed among the various hedge fund regions with Japanese managers posting the strongest returns during the month. The Eurekahedge Japanese Hedge Fund Index increased 3.57% in March as the Tokyo Topix gained 6.05%. Bond prices also rallied amid higher trending equity indices as the new Bank of Japan governor is expected to continue the monetary easing policy. Some managers also reported gains from the weakening Japanese yen during the month, although the rate of depreciation slowed down at the month's end amid concerns over European debt which sent some foreign capital into the currency.
North American managers posted returns of 1.06% in March as the equity markets maintained their upward momentum during the month. The S&P 500 reached a record high as positive data on employment and the housing sector provided support for equities. Asia ex-Japan managers also delivered gains of 0.77% in March, outperforming the underlying markets by 2.3% - the MSCI Asia ex Japan Index3 dropped 1.52% during the month. European managers also outperformed the underlying markets although the Eurekahedge Europe Hedge Fund Index witnessed a loss of 0.20% in March.
All strategic mandates finished the month with positive returns, with event driven and distressed debt managers posting the strongest gains. Increasing corporate action including IPO volume and acquisition activity in the first quarter has been favourable for event driven managers. The Eurekahedge Event Driven Hedge Fund Index grew 2.90% in March, bringing its 1Q 2013 return to a strong 5.10%. Despite increasing risk aversion in Europe, distressed debt funds continued their strong run for the year with gains of 1.72% in March. Managers were able to post gains from a rebounding housing market in the US as well as corporate issuances. The BofA Merrill Lynch High Yield Index4 was up 1.03% during the month.
Among other strategies, long/short equity managers continued to deliver profits for the 10th consecutive month with gains of 1.01% in March. The mid-month volatility and divergent trends in global indices were helpful for relative value managers who posted returns of 1.04%. CTA/managed futures funds also posted positive returns of 0.45% with some managers reporting gains from the energy sector.
Eurekahedge Strategy Indices
Eurekahedge Global Hedge Fund Indices by Fund Size
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1 Based on 32.46% of funds which have reported Mar-2013 returns as at 9-Apr-2013 2 MSCI AC World Index All Core (USD) 3 MSCI AC Asia Pacific Ex Japan Index All Core (USD) 4 Bank of America Merrill Lynch US High Yield Master II Index (Total Return Index, in Local Currency)