Given that the S&P500 was down 11% in February, the fact that the Eurekahedge hedge fund index only fell by 0.5% looks pretty good.
Redemptions of $11 billion occurred during the month (based on 41% of funds reporting) and that is about a third of the level for the comparable period last year. Bear in mind, though, that there is a lot less left to be redeemed today given the redemption flows throughout 2008 and the destruction in value due to losses.
Managers investing in Asia ex-Japan had a flat month, while Japanese managers suffered losses of 2.1% amid a slew of bad economic data and a weaker yen.
Leading the list of individual strategies were the arbitrage managers, which were up almost 1% for the month and nearly 3% so far for 2009. The bog-standard macro, event driven, fixed-income funds also go into March in the black for 2008. Bringing up the rear are relative value managers, who were down 1.7% in February and 2.1% for the year-to-date.
February's surprise performers were funds of hedge funds, which for the second month in a row beat the hedge fund index. They were still down, losing 0.2%, but compared to 2008, in which they were behind the hedge fund index in every single month of the year, they can hold their heads higher in 2009.