Hedge funds were up 1.48% in November, bringing the year-to-date total to 17.92%, but Asia funds only eked out a 0.42% positive return for the month, while Japan was down 2.4%. The country has had the worst year of sectors profiled, with only a 5% positive return year-to-date.
What's more, hedge funds didn't beat the MSCI World Index, which rose 3.87% in November. All this in a month when Dubai alarms were raised.
The best performers for the year have been event-driven strategies, with a 33% return (and that follows 2008, a year in which we didn't speak to any who were up). In second place is distressed debt with 32%, which is not bad when you consider how much they are complaining that distressed prices have not fallen to the levels they hoped for.
With markets less thrilling, last year's stalwarts -- managed futures/CTA and macro -- had the best single-strategy returns of November, though they come at the end of a year in which neither strategy has shone as brilliantly as in 2008.
November was also a month when long-only funds racked up year-to-date gains of 43.14%, following a 43% negative return last year. That might appear a pleasing symmetry, were it not for the fact that those funds have only recouped half their 2008 losses.
According to research firm Eurekahedge, November saw the seventh straight month of hedge fund AUM growth -- there was $5.14 billion of asset growth, comprising $1.7 billion in inflows and $3.5 billion in performance-based gains.
That brings the yearly tally up to $1.46 trillion. So if we could all be charitable and dig deep, we might bring that number up to $1.5 trillion by the end of the year and give hedge fund managers a merry Christmas.