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January for world hedge funds was the best month in almost 10 years

Will the beginning of the year for hedge funds become a period of their return to fashion among a wide range of investors? If their January results are a sign of the beginning of a positive trend, then the answer to this question is undoubtedly yes!
New data from eVestment, an asset management analyst firm, show that in January, global hedge funds managed to reverse a five-month losing streak, showing the best monthly result in almost 10 years.

According to eVestment, on average, hedge funds in January earned 3.91%. This not only broke the losing trend observed for 5 consecutive months, but also became the best monthly result for the industry since May 2009, when hedge funds earned an average of 5.14%.

According to Peter Lorelli, head of global research at eVestment, such hedge fund results were driven by strong stock market dynamics in January. Lorelli noted that hedge funds with the largest share of investments in stocks, as a rule, show superior returns.

He also said that the year 2018 was difficult for many fund managers in terms of efficiency, but some of them were “on the sidelines” of the general group, especially those who had “their own point of view” different from the prevailing views that turned out to be wrong.

Not surprisingly, equity-oriented funds were among the best in January, while the broader category of equity investors, according to eVestment, earned 5.44% during the month. The same funds lost 7.53% at the end of last year.

Funds using short positions on weak shares and long on strong (Long-short equity funds), in January increased by 5.97%. This strategy also ended 2018 in the red, losing 6.96%, according to eVestment.

Lorelli expects that 2019 will be similar to 2018 in terms of maintaining a clear separation between funds that demonstrate results that are ahead of average returns and those that will lag behind them.

According to eVestment, funds invested in Brazil, Russia and China also showed good results during January. Those who invested in Brazil received an average of 10.7%, while those who invested in Chinese assets - 7.07%. Funds oriented to Russia showed monthly returns of 6.44%.

Lorelli noted that these markets are sensitive to the dynamics of the dollar. According to him, due to the recent weakness, these funds were able to achieve higher rates.

Lorelli also said that he was particularly intrigued by the January results of managed futures funds (performing active operations in the futures market - ed.). “This is an area that has recently experienced difficulties,” he noted.

These problems emerged last month, as managed futures funds were one of the few strategies that suffered losses in January. During this period, these funds lost an average of 0.87%.

“At the start of the year, we observed a significant directional impulse, but for the most part they could not use it,” Lorelli summed up.