Hedge funds returned to the black in September, posting an industrywide monthly return of 0.32 per cent, according to the Barclay Hedge Fund Index compiled by BarclayHedge.
By comparison, the S&P Total Return Index was up 1.87 per cent in September.
For the year-to-date through September, hedge funds returned 7.00 per cent. Over the same period, the S&P Total Return Index gained 20.96 per cent.
September’s gain was a welcome reprieve after a losing month in August (-0.96 per cent). Sector performance was mixed, gainers outnumbered those in the red by a 5:3 margin. Emerging market funds – excluding Eastern Europe – were a factor in pushing the index into positive territory for the month.
“Many emerging market countries and Pacific Rim markets benefited in September from the U.S. Fed’s rate cut, while countries like Mexico and Vietnam enjoyed export increases to China as a result of the U.S.-China trade war,” says Sol Waksman (pictured), president of BarclayHedge. “On the other side of the coin, slowing growth in Germany and elsewhere in Western Europe contributed to slowdowns in Eastern European economies.”
Among sectors in the black in September, the Option Strategies Index led the way with a 2.74 per cent return. Other leading gainers included the Pacific Rim Equities Index, which returned 2.15 per cent in September, the Emerging Markets Latin American Equities Index rose 2.03 per cent, and the Emerging Markets Asian Equities Index gained 1.32 per cent.
Among the sectors with the largest monthly declines in September were the Technology Index, down 1.55 per cent, the Healthcare & Biotechnology Index lost 1.42 per cent, the European Equities Index dropped 1.15 per cent, and the Equity Long/Short Index fell 0.88 per cent.
While sector results were mixed for the month, all but two remained in the black year-to-date through the end of September. The year’s leaders include the Emerging Markets Eastern European Equities Index, which gained 14.38 per cent, the Emerging Markets Latin American Equities Index rose 11.95 per cent, the Technology Index returned 10.59 per cent, and the Option Strategies Index advanced 10.39 per cent.
Sectors in the red for the year-to-date were the Volatility Trading Index, down 2.20 per cent, and the Equity Market Neutral Index, off 0.46 per cent.