New York (HedgeCo.Net) – BarclayHedge and TrimTabs Investment Research reported today that hedge funds took $11.2 billion (0.5% of assets) in March, down from a three-year high of $24.9 billion (1.2% of assets) in February.
“Investors pumped $38.6 billion into hedge funds in the first quarter, the best quarterly inflow since the first quarter of 2011, when the industry took in $47.9 billion,” said Sol Waksman, president and founder of BarclayHedge.
Industry assets climbed to a 5½-year high of $2.2 trillion in March, according to estimates based on data from 3,375 funds. Assets rose 19% in the past 12 months but were down 9% from the all-time high of $2.4 trillion in June 2008.
The monthly TrimTabs/BarclayHedge Hedge Fund Flow Report noted that the hedge fund industry earned just 0.02% in March but outperformed the S&P 500, which lost 0.8%. In the past 12 months, the industry returned 8.5%, while the S&P 500 gained 22.0%.
Equity Long Bias hedge funds, the best-performing category in the past 12 months, had a rough month. “Equity Long Bias funds delivered a return of just 0.2% in March, down from their six-month high of 3.0% in February,” Waksman said.
The monthly TrimTabs/BarclayHedge Survey of Hedge Fund Managers finds that more than half of surveyed managers are neutral on the S&P 500 over the next 30 days, the highest level in two years, and the rest are evenly split between bullish and bearish. The majority favoring developed markets grew a bit slimmer as optimism on emerging markets climbed to a 13-month high.