Managed futures up 1.7 per cent in October, according to Barclay CTA Index

Managed futures rose by an average 1.69 per cent in October, according to flash estimates from the Barclay CTA Index. 'October profits were powered by a continuation of September's uptrend in energy prices and downtrend in the US dollar,' says Sol Waksman, founder and president of the Barclay Group.

'Higher prices in the energy complex reflected increased tension as Turkey massed troops on the Iraqi border, coupled with lower than expected supplies of crude oil and refined products. The Canadian dollar, viewed by many market participants as an energy/commodity currency, reached a new 130-year high against the US dollar.'

All eight of Barclay's CTA indexes were profitable in October. The Diversified Traders Index gained 2.40 per cent, Systematic Traders rose 2.17 per cent, and the Agricultural Traders Index was up 2.10 per cent. The Barclay BTOP50 Index, which monitors the performance of the largest traders, added 2.19 per cent in October following a 2.66 per cent gain in September.

'Continuing speculation that the US Federal Reserve would cut interest rates again helped to drive the dollar to a new low against the euro, and to a 26-year low against the British pound,' Waksman says.

Hedge funds were up 2.90 per cent in October following their 2.51 per cent gain in September, according to preliminary estimates from the Barclay Hedge Fund Index. 'Global stock markets led the way in October,' Waksman says. 'All the developed markets except Japan, Sweden and New Zealand posted gains for the month.'

Seventeen of Barclay's 18 hedge fund indexes gained ground last month. 'Ninety per cent of the funds that have submitted their returns for October are reporting a profit for the month,' Waksman says.

The Emerging Markets Index soared 5.16 per cent, and leads all hedge fund strategies this year with a 25.01 per cent cumulative gain. 'With the exception of Hungary, all emerging market equity indices saw increases during October, and in many cases these were quite large. Equity markets in Brazil, Russia, India and China all registered double-digit gains.'

Barclay's Technology Index jumped 5.04 per cent, Healthcare and Biotechnology rose 3.83 per cent, Global Macro gained 3.67 per cent, Equity Long Bias was up 3.29 per cent, and the Multi-Strategy Index gained 3.08 per cent.

The only losing strategy in October was selling the market short. 'A strong equity market presents serious challenges for short-sellers,' Waksman says. 'However, in spite of the strong rally in equity prices, the Barclay Equity Short Bias Index was down only 0.60 per cent for the month.'

The Barclay Fund of Funds Index was up 2.87 per cent in October, and has gained 10.19 per cent over the first 10 months of this year. The Barclay Hedge Fund Index has gained 12.02 per cent so far in 2007.

Founded in 1985 and based in Fairfield, Iowa, the Barclay Group actively tracks more than 6,500 hedge funds, funds of hedge funds, and managed futures programmes. Barclay maintains 18 proprietary hedge fund indices and eight managed futures indices used as benchmarks by institutional investors, brokerage firms and private banks.

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