Global Macro Hedge Funds Net Short Equities ~ market folly

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Global Macro Hedge Funds Net Short Equities

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is out with their latest hedge fund monitor report and so we'll check in on the most recent exposure levels from hedgies. Overall, managers continued to sell equities and added to shorts in 10 year treasuries. A few weeks ago, we highlighted that hedgies had very low net long exposure and this trend continues. Also, we pointed out that long/short equity was the worst performing strategy. This trend also continues as equity funds continue to feel the sting. You can see how badly some of the top dogs fared in our May hedge fund performances update (it's not pretty).

Based on CFTC data, it is estimated that global macro hedge funds are actually net short US equities as of last week. This isn't the first time we've seen this stance as of late because back in early May, it appeared that global macro funds were net short equities then as well. Additionally, these funds are in crowded longs of the US dollar and are short commodities as well. This trade seems to be the complete opposite of what many put on during the financial crisis (short dollar, long commodities). It looks as if macro funds are pressing their bets and playing catch up. After all, we previously highlighted how these funds were struggling earlier in the year.

As of last week, long/short equity hedge funds were 22% net long. Again, this is well below historical averages of around 35-40%. These fund managers continue to favor high quality and growth stocks and we've highlighted this trend numerous times on the site before. However, last week they were slightly reducing high quality exposure.

Market neutral funds also reduced exposure to the stock market. However, they are still net long and have above average exposure. They seem to prefer value and small cap names.

Embedded below is the latest hedge fund trend monitor from Bank of America Merrill Lynch:

You can download a .pdf copy here.

For more research on what hedge funds are up to position wise, head to Goldman Sachs' VIP list and stay up to date daily with our hedge fund portfolio tracking series.

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