July 10, 2013 – New York, NY – Hennessee Group LLC announced today that the Hennessee Hedge Fund Index declined -1.30% in June (+4.76% YTD), whilethe S&P 500 declined -1.50% (+12.63% YTD), the Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased -1.36% (+13.78% YTD), and the NASDAQ Composite Index fell -1.52% (+12.71% YTD). Bonds were also negative, as the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index declined -1.55% (-2.45% YTD).
“Hedge funds posted their first monthly loss of the year in June,” commented Charles Gradante, Co-Founder of Hennessee Group. “While June saw the return of a ‘risk-on, risk-off’ trading environment, many managers maintained portfolio exposures, viewing the correction as technical in nature and not reflective of a change in underlying fundamentals.”
“In June, investors adopted a ‘risk-off’ sentiment amid concerns about the ‘tapering’ of stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve, resulting in increased volatility,” said Lee Hennessee, Managing Principal of Hennessee Group. “Most hedge funds strategies posted losses, but interest rate-sensitive and emerging market funds were most negatively affected.”
Equity long/short hedge funds were negative in June, as the Hennessee Long/Short Equity Index declined –0.75% (+7.98% YTD). The best performing sectors were telecommunication services (+1.86%), consumer discretionary (+0.75%), and utilities (+0.60%). The worst performing sectors were materials (-4.50%, information technology (-3.70%) and energy (-2.09%). Short portfolios provided some benefit as the equity markets sold off. Despite the increased volatility, most managers maintained exposure levels, expecting the correction to be short lived.
“Despite Wall Street’s biggest concern regarding the eventual phasing out of QE program, the steepening of the yield curve in June reminded the Hennessee Group of rising bond yields in 1995, which resulted in money flows out of bonds and into stocks. This ignited one of the greatest stock market rallies from 1995 to 1999,” stated Charles Gradante.
The Hennessee Arbitrage/Event Driven Index declined –1.13% in June (+4.15% YTD). The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index declined -1.55% (-2.45% YTD) as interest rates increased. High yield also declined as the Merrill Lynch High Yield Master II Index declined -2.64% (+1.50% YTD). High yield spreads widened 59 basis points to 521 basis points over treasuries. The Hennessee Distressed Index decreased –1.58% in June (+6.95% YTD). Distressed portfolios were negatively affected by both a significant widening of credit spreads and equity market losses. The Hennessee Merger Arbitrage Index declined –0.31% in June (+3.74% YTD). Managers posted losses as deal spreads widened amid greater volatility. The Hennessee Convertible Arbitrage Index returned –1.17% in June (+2.26% YTD). Convertible arbitrage managers experienced losses amid higher interest rates and wider credit spreads.
“The Hennessee Group notes that an analysis of the technicals indicate the emerging markets are oversold and the S&P 500 is overbought, concluding that we are likely to see the beginning of a reversal in the long S&P 500 and short emerging markets trade.” commented Charles Gradante. “Global and macro managers are likely to go long emerging markets and short the S&P 500.”
The Hennessee Global/Macro Index declined –1.93% in June (+1.45% YTD). The MSCI EAFE Index fell -3.72% (+2.18% YTD). The Hennessee International Index declined –2.01% (+3.03%). Emerging markets were also down, as the MSCI Emerging Market Index decline -6.79% (-10.89% YTD). Emerging Markets posted losses across equity, sovereign bond and currency markets. The Hennessee Emerging Market Index fell -1.95% (+2.73% YTD).
The Hennessee Macro Index increased +0.17% for the month of June (-1.40% YTD). Managers experienced losses in fixed income as bond yields increased significantly in June as the 10 Year Treasury yield increased 57 basis points to 2.73%. Commodities also declined in the “risk off” environment. A stronger dollar and uncertainty about Chinese demand added to the negative pressure. Precious metals were the worst-performing sector, down -12.3% MTD and -29.6% YTD. Natural gas lost -11.2% for the month and -1% for the year, giving back all the gains it had accrued for the year. The U.S. Dollar Index increased +0.70% in June, benefiting macro managers, with significant gains against emerging market currencies.