Many high profile hedge fund managers performed in line or beat the major market averages in November, which was a difficult month for investors. The S&P 500 was essentially flat, other indices were up less than 1 percent while the HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index gained 0.26 percent.
Even so, there were some big winners. Perhaps the biggest was Pershing Squares Bill Ackman, who was up 12.2 percent for the month alone and is now up 27 percent for the year. A bigger part of the gain came in the second half of the month. The activist, who on Monday agreed to bankroll a possible acquisition of Barnes & Noble by Borders, is said to have made big bucks when General Growth Properties emerged from bankruptcy on November 9. He also took activist positions in J.C. Penney and Fortune Brands in October.
Third Points Dan Loeb is having an even better year. His Third Point Offshore Fund was only up 0.2 percent in November. But it is up more than 25 percent for the year. His Ultra fund, which provides a leveraged return of the Third Point Offshore Fund is up more than 26 percent for the year while Third Point Partners, L.P. is up 32.1 percent.
Loeb, who usually devotes a slice of his portfolio to activism and is well known for his hard-charging, acerbic letters fired off to management, generated his biggest gains from various securities issued by Chrysler, as well as from positions in Volkswagen AG, Lyondell, Massey Energy and Statoil Fuel & Retail. Currently, his biggest position is in gold, following by several different securities of Delphi, Potash, Chrysler and Lyondell.
A number of the high profile macro or multi-strategy funds held their own or beat the market averages. Keep in mind that on average, macro funds were the weakest performers in November, losing 0.92 percent, according to HFR.
However, Stevie Cohens SAC Capital was up 0.65 percent for the month and is now up 12.5 percent for the year. Ken Griffins Citadel rose about 2.5 percent in November and is up 12.5 percent for the year. Louis Bacons Moore Macro Managers rose 3 percent in November, and is now up 8 percent for the year. Bruce Kovners Caxton Global Investment was up about 0.6 percent for the month and is now up 8.2 percent for the year. Izzy Englanders Millennium was up 1.2 percent and is now up more than 10 percent for the year.
However, not every fund is keeping up with the averages. Mark Kingdons M. Kingdon Offshore was flat for the month and is up a little more than 5 percent for the year. Andreas Halvorsens Viking Capital was slightly in the black for the month but is still only up 1.4 percent for the year. Through November 26, Paul Tudor Jones IIs BVI Global lost 1.23 percent for the month and was only up 3.8 percent for the year.