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22 Sep 2009

Hedge Fund Performance for August - Morningstar

Hedge funds' good fortunes persisted in August according to a preliminary hedge fund performance report from Morninstar.

"Hedge fund returns in August were driven by strong equity markets throughout the developed world," said Nadia Papagiannis, Morningstar hedge fund analyst. “Many hedge funds claim to be uncorrelated to the markets, but it appears that the rising tide of the market has lifted all boats, including hedge funds.”

The Morningstar 1000 Hedge Fund Index and the currency-hedged Morningstar MSCI Composite Hedge Fund Index rose 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively in August. For the year to date through August, these indexes increased 13.7% and 9.5%, respectively.

Developed countries' stock markets rallied for the sixth straight month on positive news in areas such as manufacturing. The Morningstar MSCI Developed Markets Hedge Fund Index appreciated in August by 1.9%, with the Morningstar MSCI Europe Equity Hedge Fund Index outperforming with an increase of 2.9%, as European stock markets hit 11-month highs on better-than-expected economic data in France and Germany. In the United States, continuing the year-long trend, smaller-company equities outperformed larger-cap stocks. The Morningstar US Small Cap Equity Hedge Fund Index rose 1.9% versus the Morningstar US Equity Hedge Fund Index's 1.4% rise.

Emerging market equities stagnated in August, with gains in Eastern Europe and certain other countries offset by steep losses in China. The Shanghai Composite Index experienced a severe sell-off, dropping nearly 7% on the last day of the month to its lowest level since May. The sell-off was fueled by fears that the Chinese government may curb stimulus measures. The Morningstar Emerging Markets Equity Hedge Fund Index rose 1.6%, as many funds in this index had lighter weightings in China than did the index.

The big winners in August were hedge funds that trade distressed securities. Credit markets, notably the more speculative ones, continued to rebound in August, though the pace of appreciation has slowed. Global corporate bond issuance broke 2007 levels in August, improving liquidity, and leveraged loan prices reached 12-month highs with some new issues. The Morningstar Distressed Securities Hedge Fund Index rallied 4.1%.

August returns and July asset flows for the Morningstar Hedge Fund Indexes are based on funds that reported as of Sept. 17, 2009. Returns for the Morningstar MSCI Hedge Fund Indexes are based on funds that reported August performance as of Sept. 14, 2009.

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