CHICAGO, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Morningstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, today reported preliminary hedge fund performance for the fourth quarter and year-end 2009 and asset flows through November. Although December proved relatively uneventful for hedge funds, 2009 turned out to be the best year since 2003. The Morningstar 1000 Hedge Fund Index gained only 0.1% in December, but ended the year up 19.5%, missing 2003's 20.3% rise by a small margin. Similarly, the currency-hedged Morningstar MSCI Hedge Fund Index rose just 0.2% in December, but finished the year up 14.1%. The second and third quarters of 2009 generated the most profit for hedge funds, as the global recovery in stocks and bonds waned toward year end. The Morningstar 1000 Hedge Fund Index and the Morningstar MSCI Hedge Fund Index rose 2.1% and 1.9%, respectively, in the fourth quarter, while the MSCI World Stock Index gained 4.1% and the BarCap Global Aggregate Bond Index declined 0.9% over the same period.
"2009 was a windfall year for hedge funds," said Nadia Papagiannis, alternative investment strategist at Morningstar. "The hedge funds that survived 2008's industry purge, or those that launched in the aftermath, picked up assets at rock-bottom prices and rode the recovery to near record profits, particularly in U.S. equity and debt markets."
The least successful strategies of 2008 became the most profitable in 2009. The Morningstar Emerging Market Equity Hedge Fund Index took the largest hit in 2008, declining 45.7%, but rose 50.4% in 2009. The currency-hedged Morningstar MSCI Emerging Markets Hedge Fund Index increased 1.7% in December, and 37.1% for the year. The Morningstar U.S. Small Cap Equity Hedge Fund Index finished as the second-worse performing strategy in 2008, dropping 32.8%, but the third best in 2009, rising 36.4%. These hedged-equity strategies suffered from poor liquidity in 2008, but regained strength as liquidity returned to the markets in 2009. However, it's notable that the average emerging market or small-cap equity hedge fund has not yet recovered from 2008's losses.
Convertible arbitrage was among 2008's worst-performing strategies, but it was 2009's second-best strategy. The Morningstar Convertible Arbitrage Hedge Fund Index rose 2.1% in December, and more than 37% in 2009, as many convertible-arbitrage hedge funds were wiped out in 2008, leaving opportunity for those that remained in the market. Merger-arbitrage strategies saw a similar fallout in 2008, as broken merger deals and investor redemptions caused the liquidation of many of these hedge funds. In 2009, however, merger activity picked up slowly, and reduced competition in merger-arbitrage trades allowed for outsized profits. The Morningstar Corporate Actions Hedge Fund Index, which includes merger arbitrage hedge funds, rose 0.3% in December and 30.0% for the year.
Some hedge fund strategies, though, experienced unimpressive returns in 2009. The Morningstar Short Equity Hedge Fund Index and the Morningstar Global Trend Hedge Fund Index each fell 3.1% in December, ending the year down 1.4% and 1.5%, respectively. Substantial rebounds in the global equity markets hurt those hedge funds that take bets on declining stocks. Global Trend hedge funds, which profit from momentum or price trends in currencies, interest rates, stocks, and commodities, were challenged when price trends reversed in many of these markets throughout the year. Ironically, these same strategies were the only two that protected wealth in 2008.
Although outflows from hedge funds in Morningstar's database netted $53.4 billion for the year through November, positive inflows started in June as redemption gates lifted and market conditions improved. Most recently, hedge funds enjoyed $4.7 billion of inflows in November 2009, led by Europe Equity, U.S. Equity, Multi-Strategy, and Global Non-Trend hedge funds, which bet on macro-economic themes.
Other notable trends for the year include the outperformance of small hedge funds over large and single-manager hedge funds over funds of hedge funds. The Morningstar MSCI Composite Small Fund Hedge Fund Index jumped 21.5% in 2009, while the Morningstar MSCI Composite Core Fund Hedge Fund Index increased only 16.5%. Funds with smaller assets under management can more easily take advantage of riskier, smaller, and less-liquid investment opportunities. The Morningstar Hedge Fund of Fund Index underperformed single-manager multi-strategy hedge funds (as measured by the Morningstar Multi-Strategy Hedge Fund Index) in 2009 by a wide margin of more than nine percentage points. Hedge funds of funds came under fierce criticism after poor performance and scandal in 2008, and 2009's results didn't help to bolster their market share.
December returns and November asset flows for the Morningstar Hedge Fund Indexes are based on funds that reported as of Jan. 20, 2010. Returns for the Morningstar MSCI Hedge Fund Indexes are based on funds that reported December performance as of Jan. 15, 2010. Hedge fund investors, managers, consultants, and advisors can access additional information through the Morningstar® Alternative Investment Center(SM), formerly Morningstar® Altvest(SM), the company's research platform designed specifically for hedge funds. Visit http://alternativeinvestments.morningstar.com for more information.
Morningstar has approximately 8,000 hedge funds and funds of hedge funds in its database. The Morningstar 1000 Hedge Fund Index, a global, broadly representative benchmark for hedge fund performance, has return history from January 2003. The index comprises the top 90% of eligible assets in Morningstar's hedge fund database. For the purposes of the index, Morningstar counts funds with shared portfolios as a single hedge fund; funds of hedge funds are excluded from consideration. The index is updated daily for the previous month-end, rebalanced monthly, and reconstituted semi-annually. In addition, Morningstar has 17 category indexes and four broad category indexes based on Morningstar's strategy-specific classification system for hedge funds. Morningstar's hedge fund indexes are not investable.
In addition to calculating the Morningstar Hedge Fund Indexes, Morningstar also calculates hedge fund indexes by applying the MSCI Hedge Fund Index Methodology and Hedge Fund Classification Standard to Morningstar's hedge fund database. These indexes demonstrate the performance of hedge funds to investors who have hedged their currency exposure back into U.S. dollars. The MSCI Hedge Fund Index Methodology classifies hedge funds by investment process, geography, and asset class.
This release is not intended to be an offer or solicitation for the sale of hedge funds. The information is not warranted to be accurate, complete, or timely. When considering hedge funds, investors should consider various risks, including the fact that some products engage in leveraging and other speculative investment practices that may increase the risk of investment loss, can be illiquid, are not required to provide periodic pricing or valuation information to investors, may involve complex tax structures and delays in distributing important tax information, are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds, often charge high fees, and in many cases the underlying investments are not transparent and are known only to the investment manager. The high degree of leverage that is often obtainable in trading can lead to large losses as well as gains. Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
About Morningstar, Inc.
Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company offers an extensive line of Internet, software, and print-based products and services for individuals, financial advisors, and institutions. Morningstar provides data on more than 325,000 investment offerings, including stocks, mutual funds, and similar vehicles, along with real-time global market data on more than 4 million equities, indexes, futures, options, commodities, and precious metals, in addition to foreign exchange and Treasury markets. The company has operations in 20 countries and minority ownership positions in companies based in two other countries.
Morningstar Hedge Fund Index Performance
Full Year 2009
Morningstar 1000 HF USD
Morningstar Hedge Fund of Funds
Morningstar Hedge Fund Category Indexes
Morningstar Convtbl Arbitrage HF USD
Morningstar Corporate Actions HF USD
Morningstar Debt Arbitrage HF USD
Morningstar Distressed Sec HF USD
Morningstar Dvlp Asia Equity HF USD
Morningstar EM Equity HF USD
Morningstar Equity Arbitrage HF USD
Morningstar Europe Equity HF USD
Morningstar Global Debt HF USD
Morningstar Global Equity HF USD
Morningstar Global Non Trend HF PUSD
Morningstar Global Trend HF USD
Morningstar Multi-Strategy HF USD
Morningstar Short Equity HF PUSD
Morningstar US Equity HF USD
Morningstar US Small Cap Eqty HF USD
Morningstar Hedge Fund Indexes with MSCI
Morningstar MSCI Composite AW
Morningstar MSCI Composite EW
Morningstar MSCI Composite Core Funds
Morningstar MSCI Composite Small Fund
Morningstar MSCI Developed Markets
Morningstar MSCI Directional Trading
Morningstar MSCI Emerging Markets
Morningstar MSCI Europe
Morningstar MSCI Global Markets
Morningstar MSCI Japan
Morningstar MSCI Multi-Process Group
Morningstar MSCI North America
Morningstar MSCI Relative Value
Morningstar MSCI Security Selection
Morningstar MSCI Specialist Credit
S&P 500 TR
Russell 2000 TR USD
MSCI Europe NR USD
MSCI AC Asia NR USD
MSCI World NR USD
MSCI Emerging Markets NR USD
BarCap US Agg Bond TR USD
BarCap Global Aggregate TR USD
Est. Hedge Fund Flows By Morningstar Category
Nov. 2009 Flows
YTD Thru Nov.
Developed Asia Equity
Emerging Market Equity
U.S. Small Cap Equity
Hedge Fund of Fund Flows
Fund of Funds - Debt
Fund of Funds - Derivatives
Fund of Funds - Equity
Fund of Funds - Event
Fund of Funds - Multistrategy
Fund of Funds - Nondirectional
Hedge Fund Flows By Morningstar Rating
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Alexa Auerbach, 312-696-6481 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Morningstar, Inc.