Fewer U.S. hedge fund starts so far this year

Reuters UK- Roughly three dozen U.S. hedge funds have opened for business so far this year, 50 percent less than the same period last year, according to data released on Tuesday that underscored how tough it is to launch one of these portfolios now.

But the data also shows investors, like pension funds, endowments and wealthy individuals, are still flocking to these loosely regulated funds in search of better returns as the credit crisis and slower economic growth dents performance.

According to numbers compiled by trade magazine Absolute Return, the 35 new funds began trading with a total of $19.5 billion (9.9 billion pounds) in the first six months of 2008. That compares with 72 funds launched with $14 billion in the first half of 2007.

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