Across the globe, the Van U.S. Hedge Fund Index, which includes only U.S.-domiciled funds, was flat for the month, while the Van Offshore Hedge Fund Index, which includes non-U.S.-domiciled funds, gained 0.3% net. March’s performance figures are based on performance information from over 800 funds from around the world, according to industry consultant Van Hedge Fund Advisors International, LLC.
During the month, the best performance was turned in by Emerging Markets and Convertible Arbitrage strategies at 0.8%. These were followed by Market Neutral Arbitrage (0.5%) and Statistical Arbitrage (0.5%). Conversely, the month’s weaker performances were turned in by Aggressive Growth (-1.0%) and Short Selling (-1.1%).
Performance was generally even among the major Global hedge fund strategy groups. The Market Neutral Group performed best with a 0.3% net return while the Directional Trading Group and Specialty Strategies Group each returned 0.2% net. The Long/Short Equity Group was flat for the month.
March hedge fund performance compares favorably with the stock market. The S&P 500 was down 1.5%, the NASDAQ was off 1.7% and Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.7% lower. “March marked the thirteenth month in the last five years that the S&P 500 has been negative but the Van Global Hedge Fund Index has been positive. The S&P 500 had a total return of -5.9% during that five-year period while the Van Index gained 87.5% net,” George Van, Chairman of VAN said in a news release.
For the year to date, the Van Global Hedge Fund Index has risen 3.1% net of fees, its most successful first quarter since 2000. During this time, the Directional Trading Group yielded the best results, gaining 4.9% net, while the Market Neutral Group fared the worst of the four with a 2.7% net gain.