2008 Hedge Fund Performance Numbers: December & Year-End ~ market folly

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2008 Hedge Fund Performance Numbers: December & Year-End

We're back with our monthly aggregation of performance numbers from some noteworthy hedge funds. If you missed it, you can check out our November update as well. 2008 was a rough year for hedge funds, as evidenced by their year-end performances listed below. In no particular order:

  1. Hedge Funds in general finished 2008 -18.3%, compared to S&P -37%.
  2. Jeffrey Gendell's Tontine Associates: Simply put, Tontine had a year to forget. Their Tontine Partners LP fund was -12.1% for December and finished the year -91.5%. Yes, you read that correctly. Their Tontine 25 LP fund was -2.2% for December and ended 2008 -63.6%. Earlier, Gendell announced that he would be closing two of his funds: Tontine Capital Partners LP and Tontine Partners LP. That leaves two of his funds still open: Tontine 25 and Tontine Financial. In addition to those funds, Gendell will be opening up a new fund in February, the Tontine Total Return Fund. This new fund will not use leverage and will invest in assets deemed undervalued. We just recently covered Tontine's portfolio holdings here.
  3. Bill Ackman's Pershing Square: Ackman's main fund, Pershing Square International Ltd, ended was -0.2% for December and ended 2008 -12%. Ackman's Pershing Square IV fund, which invests solely in Target (TGT) with 2x leverage, was -68% for 2008, following their -43% performance in 2007 Pershing owns 9.5% of TGT. We've detailed the rest of Pershing Square's portfolio holdings here. and posted the video of Ackman's lengthy interview with Charlie Rose here.
  4. David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital: Their Offshore fund finished '08 -16.5% and their Greenlight LP finished down over 22%. If you're curious, their portfolio holdings are listed here. Also worth checking out is Einhorn's book, where he details his battle shorting Allied Capital. In it, you learn about Greenlight's theses formation and investment process: Fooling Some of the People All of the Time.
  5. Ken Griffin's Citadel: According to preliminary estimates, Citadel's main funds, Kensington and Wellington, were -9% through most of December, leaving their main fund -53% for 2008. Keep in mind these were estimates as of around December 24th. This means that the pain continued for Griffin's team, even after a painful October and November. You can view Citadel's recent portfolio holdings here.
  6. Jim Chanos' Kynikos: Their Opportunity fund was up 3.2% for December and finished the year up 15.1%.
  7. Tudor Investment Corp (Paul Tudor Jones): Their Raptor global equities fund finished 08 -20%, their flagship Global BVI fund finished -4.9%, and their Tensor fund (quant) ended +35.4%. Here are their recent holdings.
  8. Louis Bacon's Moore Capital Management: Their Global Investments fund finished 2008 -4.3%, their Global Fixed Income fund finished +1.3%, and their Emerging Markets Fund finished -17.6%. We covered their portfolio here.
  9. Bruce Kovner's Caxton Associates: Their global investment fund was +0.1% for 2008 and here are their portfolio holdings. Kovner is also featured in Jack Schwager's book, Market Wizards.
  10. BlueGold Global: They've put in a solid year, ending up +5.1% for December and +209.7% for 2008.
  11. Perry Partners: Down 1.8% for December, down 28.36% for the year.
  12. Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital: A rough year for them, as their Maverick Fund finished -26.2% for 2008. Their portfolio here.
  13. Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global: Their Viking Global Equities III fund was +1% for December and finished the year -1.14%. Solid stuff, all things considered. You can view their month by month performance breakdown here and their Q3 investor letter in .pdf format. Lastly, in our recent hedge fund tracking series, we've covered Viking's portfolio holdings.
  14. Pabrai Investment Funds: Mohnish Pabrai's funds were -59.1%, -60.9%, and -60% for 2008, as detailed in their recent investor letter.
  15. Paulson & Co (John Paulson): Their Credit Opportunities I & II funds were up about 15% for the year as of the middle of December. Paulson's Advantage fund was up 2.2% for December and up 24.1% for 2008. His Advantage Plus fund finished +37.58% for the year. We've covered Paulson's recent portfolio holdings here.
  16. Art Samberg's Pequot Capital Management: Their main fund was -17.5% for 2008, while their health care fund finished -27.9%. Here are their holdings.
  17. Children's Investment Fund: They were -1.6% for December and find themselves -42.8% for the year.
  18. Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners': Offshore fund finished -22.7% for the year. Harbinger's portfolio available here.
  19. Deephaven Capital Management: Their European Event Driven fund's onshore class shares returned 17.47% through November.
  20. TPG-Axon Partners Ltd. were -1.5% for December and finished the year -34%
  21. Highbridge Capital: Four of their twenty funds were up on the year, all Statistical Opportunities funds, all ending the year up between 17% and 22%. For a great graphic of all their fund performance figures, head here.

Lastly, Richard Wilson has a great chart up showing the performance numbers of the Credit Suisse/Tremont hedge fund index and the various strategies. Short-bias and managed futures strategies were the standouts, while risk arbitrage and global macro fared quite well on a relative basis:

(click to enlarge)

Sources: Investors, Investor Letters, Bloomberg, CNN, FinAlternatives, & Dealbreaker (who also has a bunch more performance numbers).

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