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Breaking even becomes hedge funds’ mantra

Globe and Mail – Joe E. Lewis, the late American nightclub comic and inveterate horse player, once quipped: "I hope I break even. I need the money." That could very well become a mantra in the hedge fund world, where even the best and brightest of managers with impressive track records have been suffering through some of their worst results in years.

In the first three months of this year alone, 170 funds in the United States went out of business, and that was before things got really bad. Globally, hedge funds ended the first half with their most dismal performance in a decade. And then came the selloff in resource stocks, which brought misery to commodity funds, one of the few bright spots earlier in the year. July ended up being the worst month for futures in more than five years.

Scotia Capital’s Canadian hedge fund index, a useful measure of performance, was off 8.6 per cent on an asset-weighted basis last month, bested by both the gloom-laden TSX composite and S&P 500 indexes.

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