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The assets of the hedge fund industry improved in Q1 as of March 31, 2019, to $3.18 trillion, which was supported by strong investment performance in the quarter. The increase in value overcame other restrictions. The current asset level reported by the funds is 5th highest, and 1.9 per cent low from September levels. Largest funds witnessed outflows. The fund AUM had an outflow of $5 billion, where it had total assets of $15.2 billion in Q4 2018. Smaller funds witnessed outflow in the range of $1 to $5 billion.
Energy sector ETFs were one of the worst performing, which declined 4.3 per cent over the past months and health sector improved significantly. The chief investment strategists who were actively managing multiple assets, factor based, long-short and various other portfolio diversifiers - are conducting behind the scene reviews to identify the issues responsible for the poor performance in 2018. Last year witnessed unfavourable macroeconomic environment, higher market volatility and anxiety caused by changes in geopolitical trade situations causing inflation.
The return of alternative risk premium grew to an average of 2.46 per cent in Q1, 2019, which was in a negative (-3.02%) in the last quarter ending December 2018. Even the diversifiers in the institutional portfolios, which are less expensive and liquid, did not deliver the expected returns. Institutional investments of the long-term investors like endowments, pension funds and others were unable to incorporate strategies to handle the extreme volatility. In the last year, the position shifted in favour of equities, as a substitute for bonds where the strategists were looking for long equity positions, at the same time as the global markets continued to deliver strong returns.
The equity markets in terms of long-term risks are no longer bullish. The medium-term investment of 6 to 12 months has a bullish trend, while, the short-term is neutral. Some stocks remained bearish even in the short term.
Factors that caused disruption in the markets last year includes the changes in trade agreements and a decline in the real estate markets. Trade issues have not been resolved but the stock markets can resume gains even in the current year, while, the housing markets may come out of the negative zone. The job market continues to show positive indications and inflation-adjusted corporate profits are still improving. This time banks are not lending generously as in 2008 as they are facing regulatory restrictions and short term uptrend can be seen in a number of options.
Overall major fixed income asset classes were positive in the month as per Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index was 1.92 percent and corporate fixed income credits returned 2.50% and high yield indexes gained 0.94 percent. Oil supplies were hit by OPEC cut in production, and USD remained 0.72 percent up, on an average, against the set of other currencies.
There were many other positive factors that supported the equity hedge, merger arbitrage, market neutral and other strategies. Analysts predict the equity markets are no longer bullish, in terms of, long term investment, while the short term is highly random and medium terms have almost neutral trends.
To find out more about hedge funds and stocks investment, check 99 Alternatives at (http://www.99alternatives.com).
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