This is shaping up to be a wacky year for hedge funds. How wacky? For one thing, the group on average is outperforming the widely followed indexes — though barely. Hedge funds on average rose 0.7 percent in May, bringing their gains for the first five months of the year to 3.9 percent, according to the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index. This compares with 3.23 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500. The hedge fund index has not beaten the S&P 500 since the financial crisis year of 2008. Even stranger, the HFRI Fund of Funds Index rose 1.1 percent in May and 4 percent for the year. In other words, funds of funds beat individual funds. This is almost unheard of. Told you this is crazy. In any event, equity strategies are the biggest winner this year. The HFRI Equity Hedge Index climbed 1.3 percent in May and 5.1 percent year-to-date.
Several activist hedge funds fared pretty well in May. For example, Nelson Peltz’s New York-based Trian Partners rose about 3 percent for the month, boosting its gain for the year to about 5.7 percent. Richard “Mick” McGuire III’s San Francisco-based Marcato International surged 3.8 percent in May and is now up 7 percent for the year. We earlier reported that William Ackman’s New York-based Pershing Square Holdings rose 0.5 percent in May, bringing its gains for the year-to-date to 6.8 percent.
Larry Robbins’ New York-based Glenview Capital Partners had an especially strong month, gaining 6.3 percent or so in May. As a result, the firm is now solidly in the black for the year, up around 6.8 percent.
Leon Cooperman’s New York-based Omega Overseas Partners rose 1 percent last month, and is up 6.4 percent for the year.