“Hedge funds generated solid performance in September as assets rallied on reduced Syrian tensions and assurances that the fed would not be tapering in September.” commented Charles Gradante, Co-Founder of Hennessee Group LLC. “The Hennessee Hedge Fund Index was up 1.97% as managers added to net long exposures on the news. Healthcare and Biotech managers led the month, up +4.72% and are leading all hedge fund strategies and the SP 500 for the Year-to-date up +25.89%.”
The Hennessee Hedge Fund Index increased +1.97% in September (+8.57% YTD), while the S&P 500 gained +2.97% (+17.90% YTD), the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased +2.16% (+15.46% YTD), and the NASDAQ Composite Index jumped +5.06% (+24.90% YTD). Bonds were also positive on the month, as the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index gained +0.95% (-1.88% YTD).
Equity long/short hedge funds were positive in September, as the Hennessee Long/Short Equity Index gained +2.62% (+13.46% YTD). The best performing sectors were industrials (+5.48%), consumer discretionary (+5.29%), and materials (+4.16%). The underperforming sectors were telecommunication services (-0.63%), utilities (+0.74%) and consumer staples (+0.96%). The market rallied coming off a poor August, aided by the Fed’s decision to not taper its bond purchases and reduced global tensions.
“Long/Short Equity managers were up +2.62% (+13.46% YTD) having a good month and year considering an average 50% net long exposure.” commented Lee Hennessee, Co-Founder of Hennessee Group LLC. “Despite being whip sawed by politics throughout the year, these managers have generated solid returns on the short side as correlations among stocks are reverting to more normal fundamental relationships. Their biggest concerns are complacency in markets and the likelihood of excessive leverage in global equity markets due to monetary easing.”
The Hennessee Arbitrage/Event Driven Index gained -0.20% in September (+5.54% YTD). The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index gained 0.95% (-1.88% YTD) as interest rates decreased in September, aided by the Fed’s decision to continue its monthly bond purchases and record corporate bond issuance in the US. High yield also increased as the Merrill Lynch High Yield Master II Index gained +0.99% (+3.79% YTD). High yield spreads increased slightly, gaining 7 basis points to end the month 483 basis points over treasuries and investor’s appetite for risk increased. The Hennessee Distressed Index climbed +2.57% in September (+11.13% YTD). Distressed portfolios were helped by both a strong equity market and positive restructurings. The Hennessee Merger Arbitrage Index gained +1.29% in September (+6.03% YTD). Managers posted gains as deal spreads tightened and markets rallied. The Hennessee Convertible Arbitrage Index lost -0.66% in September (+4.84% YTD).
“Managers in emerging markets are concerned about the impact a steepening US yield curve and strong dollar will have on dollar denominated emerging market debt as global growth is slowing and emerging market inflation continues to threaten economies.” added Charles Gradante.
The Hennessee Global/Macro Index gained +1.86% in September (+3.25% YTD). Macro managers experienced gains as Europe, Asia, emerging markets and currencies rallied. The MSCI EAFE Index jumped +7.12% (+13.36% YTD). The Hennessee International Index gained +0.88% (+5.52%). Emerging markets were also positive, as the MSCI Emerging Market Index gained +6.23% (-6.42% YTD), while, the Hennessee Emerging Market Index gained +2.05% (+3.17% YTD). The Hennessee Macro Index increased +0.85% for the month of September (-1.22% YTD).
“Macro managers continue to speculate that the Fed is managing the strength of the dollar through market operations including shorting gold.” reported Mr. Gradante. “Macro funds benefited from low cross asset correlation posting a gain of 1.86% in September.”
Fixed income managers gained in September as bond yields decreased for the month with the 10-Year U.S. Treasury ending the month at 2.61%, down from 2.78% in August. Commodities posted declines for the month, led by platinum, silver, gold and oil. The U.S. Dollar continued its slide against major currencies ending September -2.27%. The Euro returned +2.31% for September, while the Japanese Yen increased a modest 0.10%. Gold, silver and platinum all posted significant losses for the month, shedding -4.75%, -7.75% and -7.78% for September, respectively. Crude oil reversed course, losing -4.44% for the month as Mid-East tensions subsided. Natural gas lost -0.59% for the month.