Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Macro hedge funds - dispersion in asset classes and style

All macro hedge funds are not alike. Macro/CTA's have had modest performance this year, but specialty managers have generated stronger gains.  There are wide differences in performance of managers who specialize by asset class or style of trading. This has led to offsetting performance that has dampened returns for those managers who trade multiple styles, time-frames, and asset classes.  Diversification with mixed performance can force returns close to zero.

To date, macro managers focused on metals have had a very good year. Surprisingly, energy focused managers have not performed as well as might have been expected given the large swings in oil prices. This is a market sector that continues to surprise professional traders. Active trading, discretionary, and systematic managers have all generated good returns in 2016 even with low volatility and unanticipated spikes in equity and bond returns. Global macro managers usually make money in short bursts; consequently,  there will have to be some strong market dislocations to get double digit gains for the year.  

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