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Barclay hedge fund index drops 2.45% in August; emerging markets off 10.46% in past 3 months
Hedge Funds
<p>Here's a big whoopee: Hedge funds were down only 2.45% in August compared to a drop of 6.26%  for the S&amp;P 500. Of course, most broad stock market investors weren't paying huge upfront fees.</p> <p>Hedgies took smaller losses than the MSCI emerging markets index. In August the Barclay EM index fell 5.39% vs 9.04% for the MSCI EM index. In the past three months, the MSCI EM index tumbled an impressive 17.55% vs 10.46% for the funds in the Barclay universe.</p> <p>The Barclay Hedge Fund Index compiled by BarclayHedge is hanging on by its nails to a gain for the year, up 0.23%. Here's what the data collector had to say:<br /> “A surprise currency devaluation by the People’s Bank of China on August 11 was interpreted by investors as an indication of a weakening economy, and sparked a global sell-off of risk assets,” says Sol Waksman, founder and president of BarclayHedge.</p> <p>Fifteen of Barclay’s 18 hedge fund indices had losses in August. The Emerging Markets Index dropped 5.39%, its largest loss since May of 2012 when it dropped 5.39%. Emerging Markets have fallen 10.46% in the past three months.</p> <p>“Emerging markets were hit especially hard as concerns of a global slowdown provoked fears of contagion and triggered sell-offs in commodities as well as Asian currencies, credits, and equities," says Waksman.</p> <p>Healthcare &amp; Biotechnology lost 4.38% in August, Distressed Securities fell 4.28%, and the Equity Long Bias Index was down 3.37%.</p> <p>The Equity Short Bias Index was the big winner in August, with an 8.75% gain. Equity Market Neutral was up 0.42%, and Fixed Income Arbitrage added 0.12%.</p> <p>At the end of August, the Healthcare &amp; Biotechnology Index is up 9.96% for the year, Pacific Rim Equities have gained 5.19%, Merger Arbitrage is up 4.74%, and European Equites have gained 4.39%.</p> <p>The Distressed Securities Index has lost 5.63% year to date, Emerging Markets are down 3.15%. and the Event Driven Index has lost 0.53%.</p> <p>The Barclay Fund of Funds Index lost 2.10% in August, but is still up 0.92% in 2015.<br /> Photo: SteFou </p>
Why this China ETF should keep working
Asset Management
<p>Over the past month, exchange-traded funds tracking Chinese A-shares, stocks trading on the mainland of the world's second-largest economy, figure prominently on the top 10 list of worst-performing non-leveraged ETFs.</p> <p>Of course, that is good news for the Direxion Daily CSI 300 China A Share Bear 1X Shares(NYSE: CHAD), a fund that has been highlighted multiple times in this space over the past two months.</p> <p>With Friday's gain of about 2.4 percent, CHAD is up nearly 7 percent over the past month and more than 21 percent over the past 90 days. Those are not staggering gains, but remember CHAD is not a leveraged ETF. In a perfect world, when China's widely followed CSI 300 Index falls 1 percent on a particular day, CHAD should rise by the same amount.<br /> What It Means<br /> As A-shares have tumbled in recent months, ...</p> <p>Full story available on</p> <p>Photo: Dhi</p>
Video: The rise of the private IPO
Venture Capital
<p>Frederic Kerrest, COO and Co-Founder, of Okta, a unicorn and red-hot identity management company, sat down with Fortune journalist Dan Primack and Anand Sanwal, CEO and Co-Founder of CB Insights, the venture capital research company. First question: Would you invest in an index comprised of unicorns? How would you answer?</p>
UK asset managers are not happy with Yellen
Asset Management
<p>While fund managers in the U.S. were a little more simpatico with Janet Yellen’s decision to keep rates on hold, across the pond, British money runners were apparently not that happy.</p> <p>According to the Financial Times, several U.K.-based asset managers found the Fed’s recent decision not only “frustrating,” but also a blow to the central bank’s creditability.</p> <p>Luca Paolini, Pictet’s chief strategist, said that by keeping the status quo, the Fed has only made things worse: “The uncertainty is worse than a rate hike. A Fed hike could have been a major turning point for emerging markets. Now the concerns about global growth will intensify.”</p> <p>Kevin Adams and Kevin O’Nolan meanwhile both agreed that the move was “pretty frustrating,” with Adams – head of institutional fixed income at Henderson – adding that it “massively undermines [the Fed’s] credibility,” while O’Nolan – a portfolio manager at Fidelity – stated that this just means that “uncertainty [over emerging markets] will remain.”</p> <p>And they do have a point. While the buyside did push spoos higher after the announcement, fear and loathing eventually overcame the equity markets and bathed it in a sea of red. The only things bidding up right now are safe havens such as the swissie, the yen, and gold. Heck, even the euro – a currency not known for its stability and virtue – actually managed to post some gains.</p> <p>All is not lost however. While it did spike January Fed fund rates after she insisted on a 2015 rate hike, the market still hasn’t voted against Yellen in a real way. So while things may get a little choppy, it could be much worse.</p> <p>Her belief in the Phillips Curve should be of some concern though.<br /> Photo: Brookings Institute</p>
The rise of the ethical hedge fund
Hedge Funds
<p>Hedge funds, in the eyes of the general public, seem to be nothing but vehicles of cutthroat greed, tools for untold and unfair riches, or to quote former UK Prime Minister Edward Heath, “the unacceptable face of capitalism.” With investors pushing for more ethical investments however, that image might actually change.</p> <p>The Financial News reports that Deutsche Asset &amp; Wealth Management has just sealed a deal with an unnamed hedge fund to create a product that will “invest only in stocks screened using ethical, social and governance guidelines,” adding that it plans to create more of these vehicles in the near future.</p> <p>This isn’t the first time a fund decided to integrate ESG principles though, Jersey-based Auriel Capital has been doing so since 2009, and Lansdowne Partners have been running a version of its $10 billion Developed Markets fund using ethical guidelines for quite some time already.</p> <p>However, they’re quite miniscule compared to their unconstrained brethren. Lansdowne’s ESG fund runs a mere $212 million compared to its 11-figure big brother, while Auriel Capital’s ESG strategies seem to be a non-dominant slice of its total AUM.</p> <p>Still, Deutsche’s signing could mean a lot for the space in the longer term, and as their competitor Lyxor says, demand for such products have been growing at “a very fast pace” the past years. That, coupled with the industry’s current scramble to repackage itself, could mean that we might see friendlier, more socially and environmentally conscious hedge funds within the decade. Stay tuned.<br /> Photo: Julija Rauluševičiūtė</p>
Two behemoths clash for title of biggest bond ETF
Asset Management
<p>On a global basis last year, investors pumped a record $81.9 billion into fixed-income exchange-traded funds. Despite all the talk about the Federal Reserve possibility raising interest rates, investors' enthusiasm for bond ETFs has not waned in 2015, as such funds have attracted over $44 billion in new assets as of the end of July.</p> <p>Momentum for bond ETFs has also significantly increased during the current quarter. On a year-to-date basis, just one fixed income fund, the iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasry Bnd Fd (NYSE: SHY) is among the top 10 asset-gathering ETFs. However, in the third quarter, six of the top 10 asset-gathering ETFs, including SHY, are bond funds.<br /> Bond Funds<br /> Another member of that group of six is the ...</p> <p>Full story available on<br /> Photo: Edward Dalmulder</p>
Robert Sechan, Steven Tananbaum and Anthony Scaramucci On 'Post-Economic Traumatic Stress' – or, the decline of Lehman
Asset Management
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> Benzinga got a sneak peek of this Sunday’s Wall Street Week show.</p> <p> This week’s guests will be Mary Deatherage, managing director at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management; Robert Sechan, managing director at UBS; Steven Tananbaum, managing partner and CIO at GoldenTree Asset Management.<br /> Host Anthony Scaramucci believes “post-economic traumatic stress” is upon the investment world; SEchan and Tananbaum supplement the discussion with their lessons learned from Lehman.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Did Lehman’s bankruptcy throw us into oblivion?” Skybridge Capital’s Scaramucci asked.</p> <p>Sechan responded, “Well, I do not. I think what happened was...Bear Stearns happened. It created a general market assumption that every bank out there was too big to fail. And then, when Lehman was let under, all hell broke loose.”</p> <p>Tananbaum ...</p> <p>Full story available on</p> <p>Photo: World Economic Forum</p>
Immigrants: Why Merkel opened up the flood gates
Asset Management
<p>The Fed Punts Again<br /> The Demographic Realities of the European Immigration Crisis<br /> A New East-West Rift<br /> Merkel Has a Plan<br /> Newfound Sympathy<br /> Detroit, Toronto, NYC?, and Coconut Grove<br /> “The European Project has very little economic and political capital left to defend it if anything goes wrong now. As Mr Juncker says, the bell tolls.”<br /> – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard<br /> Perhaps I should issue a storm warning for this letter. Maybe it’s because I had major gum surgery on my entire lower jaw this week and am in a bit of discomfort, but as I read the news coming through my inbox, it’s not helping my mood. This week’s letter will focus on the immigration crisis in Europe – after I muse on what I think is the very disturbing aftermath of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting.</p> <p>It wasn’t a shock that the Federal Reserve did not raise rates. Even the most inside of insiders said the odds were at most 50-50. Those Wall Street Journal reporters who have an “inside ear” at the Federal Reserve all indicated there would be no rate increase. The IMF and the World Bank were pounding the table, declaring that it was inappropriate to raise rates now, and although most FOMC members give lip service to the fact that Federal Reserve policy is to be based solely on domestic considerations, global concerns may well have played a role in their decision.</p> <p>What surprised me was the aggressively dovish stance taken by Yellen in her press conference and in the press release. It would have been one thing to come out and say, “We’re not going to raise rates at this meeting, but conditions are getting better, so get ready,” so that the market could have a little certainty. The statement we got instead, combined with early data from the quarter, is making me rethink my entire view on the timing of an interest rate increase.</p> <p>My immediate reaction upon reading the press release was almost perfectly echoed by my good friend Peter Boockvar of the Lindsey Group):<br /> The Fed punts AGAIN on a new set of excuses, and I'm sorry to many<br /> The Fed punted AGAIN and thus are inviting us to the daily obsession of when they eventually will hike for another 6 weeks. While the economic commentary on the US was not much different than the last statement, they added “recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in the near term.” They see the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced but [are] “monitoring developments abroad.” Jeff Lacker is the only one that stood out fr</p>
Fed leaves interest rates unchanged: Four insights from Loomis Sayles
Asset Management
<p>Editor's note:  Loomis Sayles asked members of its staff to explain how they interpret the recent Federal Reserve decision to let interest rates stay near zero percent. Here is what they said:</p> <p>Plans for normalization deferred, not derailed</p> <p>"Today the FOMC signaled that plans for interest rate normalization are deferred but not yet derailed. It's difficult to categorize this outcome as a genuine surprise. While the rate decision and accompanying policy statement were no doubt dovish relative to expectations, the so called "dot plot" reveals that the median Fed member sees that interest rate normalization, once begun, is expected to proceed at the same pace as was expected in June. The expected medium-term path for rates beyond lift-off is little changed. While recent international developments and associated market volatility have increased near-term uncertainty, these developments have not altered the Fed's fundamental outlook."</p> <p>- Michael Gladchun, Fixed Income Trader</p> <p>The Fed is right not to add fuel to the fire</p> <p>"The Fed pointed to "recent global and financial developments" as key reasons for maintaining the status quo. They have been flagging the risks associated with a slowing China and the turmoil in other emerging markets. We believe the Fed is right to not add fuel to that fire, especially since a wait-and-see approach does not present risks to the US economy, which shows no inflationary pressures.</p> <p>China is the main external concern. The good news: the market seems to be pricing in a hard landing for China based upon price actions witnessed in the commodity and emerging markets sectors. Downside from here would require an even worse case economic scenario, which seems less likely. The bad news: we have not yet observed an inflection point in the economic deceleration taking place in China and other emerging markets. Both the financial markets and the Fed will be sifting through the tea leaves in coming months to see if these trouble spots start to show signs of improving. It should show up in trade and credit data first. Until then, expect the markets to be jittery and volatile."</p> <p>- Matt Eagan, Portfolio Manager</p> <p>Stocks poised for further recovery</p> <p>"In my view, whether the Fed raised rates at this meeting or not, stocks are poised for further recovery later this year and have the potential to reach new highs in 2016.</p> <p>S&amp;P 500 earnings have been tamped down by weakness in the energy and commodity sectors. Multinationals could see less adverse currency impact in the first half of next year depending on the extent to which the Fed holds rates steady, leading to less upward pressure on the dollar."</p> <p>- Richard Skaggs, Senior Equity Strategist</p> <p>Company performance will matter most</p> <p>"Equity valuations are much more sensitive to long-term interest rates than to short-term Federal Reserve rate actions. If inflation remains relatively low and long-term rates remain supportive, company performance will matter most to equities.</p> <p>Global equities have been more volatile in recent weeks with emerging markets being one source of heightened concern. The Federal Reserve cited global developments in today's statement; we will continue to watch developments offshore just as intently as developments within the US for direction during the balance of the year."</p> <p>- Craig Burelle, Macro Strategies Research Analyst</p> <p>MALR013940</p> <p>This blog post is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice. Any opinions or forecasts contained herei</p>
The 3 best (and worst) things about being a fund manager this year
Hedge Funds
<p>With the PBOC loosening its grip on the yuan, the Shanghai Composite collapsing like a wet taco, and the Fed prolonging its guessing game, 2015 has been anything but boring so far.</p> <p>That said, not a lot of people have been encouraged by the myriad equity surprises and monetary plot twists this year, so here’s a little somethin somethin to keep things in perspective.</p> <p>Here are the three best, and worst, things about being a fund manager in 2015.</p> <p>Best:</p> <p>Hedge fund inflows continue to break records. You don’t even need to be a fund manager to know this one. Inflows to the hedge fund industry have been soaring to new highs of late, and traders have been enjoying the most money they’ve ever had to play with in years.</p> <p>These markets actually aren’t too bad. They may not be as smooth and trending as those in the 80's and the 90's, but today’s markets have been posting swings meaty enough for agile traders. Meanwhile, a tumble in cash returns and a climb in small cap and international stock competitiveness has created a veritable stock-picker’s market -- especially in contrast to 2014.</p> <p>It’s a wonderful time to be in the markets. No matter how bad you’re doing, the world is in an interesting juncture right with commodities hitting rock bottom, China rising, Europe struggling to grow, and the Fed flip-flopping on rates. It may sound bad but it’s one hell of a time to cut your teeth in.</p> <p>Worst:</p> <p>“Hedge fund” is still a bad word. With 2016 being an election year, hedge fund managers might as well tattoo “greed is good” on their foreheads right now. Elizabeth Warren, Donald Trump, and a whole host of presidentiables and senatoriables are still taking sight on the industry. And let’s not forget the witch hunts currently raging in China.</p> <p>The markets are good for your competitors too. Competition within the hedge fund arena is absolutely fierce right now, and industry performance has taken a massive hit because of it. The rise of the liquid alts space isn’t helping hedge funds post higher returns either.</p> <p>No one really knows what really going to happen. It may be a great time to cut your teeth in but that’s only if you get to survive it. No one really knows what’s going to happen if the Fed decides to lift rates, for all we know Fedmageddon might ensue and volatility will reign. As it is, uncertainty has already reared its ugly head.<br /> Photo: Shaun Wong</p>