2009 Performance: Hedge Funds vs. Mutual Funds

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index returned 15% year to date through Aug. 31. For the same period, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 10.8%, the Russel 2000 +15.8%, the Nasdaq Composite +28.3%, the MSCI EAFE +21.1%, and the MSCI Emerging Markets index +50.5%.

How do these index returns compare to the returns that fund categories are banking?

Today the folks at AR Magazine, a monthly magazine that’s a division of HedgeFund Intelligence, published total return data for all of the hedge fund categories in their database. Hedge funds with convertible & equity arbitrage strategies came out on top, with an average gain of more than 33% so far this year. Trailing the pack: The managed futures category, with a 0.3% loss.

Meanwhile, the spread between the best and the worst mutual fund categories is much wider, according to data from fund tracker Morningstar. Latin American stock funds, the best performing, are up an average 62.3%, while bear market funds have lost almost 27.2%.

Continue reading for a full list of all hedge fund and mutual fund categories…

Hedge Fund Category/Average Year To Date Return*

Convertible & Equity Arbitrage/33.2% Latin American Equity/19.7% Technology/15.3% Distressed/15.3% Event Driven/14.7% Latin American Debt/14% Credit/13.6% Multi-Strategy/11.9% Global Equity/11.6% Mortgage Backed Securities/11.4% U.S. Equity/10.7% Fixed Income/9.9% Overall average of all hedge funds/9.2% Mixed Arbitrage/7.1% Macro/2.7% Commodities/1.8% Managed Futures/-0.3%

* Estimated through Aug. 31 Data: Absolute Returns Database

Mutual Fund Category/Average Year To Date Return*

Latin America Stock/62.3% Diversified Emerging Mkts/47.9% Pacific/Asia ex-Japan Stk/45.7% Technology/40.6% Foreign Small/Mid Growth/34.7% Bank Loan/33.6% Foreign Small/Mid Value/33.2% Europe Stock/32.3% High Yield Bond/32.2% Miscellaneous Sector/30.7% Convertibles/28.7% Communications/26.4% Equity Precious Metals/26.4% Diversified Pacific/Asia/25.7% Global Real Estate/25.3% Foreign Large Growth/25.0% Equity Energy/24.6% Mid-Cap Blend/24.3% Mid-Cap Growth/23.9% Emerging Markets Bond/23.8% Natural Res/23.7% Consumer Discretionary/23.4% Foreign Large Value/22.6% Financial/22.6% World Stock/22.5% High Yield Muni/22.2% Foreign Large Blend/21.8% Mid-Cap Value/21.6% Small Growth/21.1% Large Growth/21.1% Target Date 2050+/20.7% Target Date 2036-2040/19.9% Target Date 2041-2045/19.5% Small Value/19.4% Small Blend/19.2% Multisector Bond/19.2% Target Date 2031-2035/19% Target Date 2026-2030/18.7% Target Date 2021-2025/18.2% Large Blend/16.7% World Allocation/16.5% Target Date 2016-2020/16.1% Moderate Allocation/15.6% Target Date 2011-2015/15.5% Target Date 2000-2010/15% Muni Single State Long/14.9% Large Value/14.5% Consumer Staples/14.3% Muni New York Long/14.1% Muni New Jersey/13.9% Conservative Allocation/13.8% Muni National Long/13.5% Retirement Income/13.3% Muni California Long/13.1% Real Estate/13% Muni Massachusetts/13% Muni Pennsylvania/12.9% Industrials/12.6% Health/12.4% Muni Minnesota/12% Japan Stock/11.9% Long-Term Bond/11.9% Intermediate-Term Bond/10.6% World Bond/10.3% Muni Ohio/9.8% Muni Single State Interm/9% Muni National Interm/8.7% Muni New York Int/Sh/8.6% Muni California Int/Sh/8.1% Utilities/7.8% Short-Term Bond/7.4% Inflation-Protected Bond/6.9% Long-Short/6.3% Ultrashort Bond/6% Muni Single State Short/4.7% Muni National Short/4.3% Intermediate Government/3.7% Short Government/2.6% Currency/-1.8% Long Government/-11.3% Bear Market/-27.2%

*As of Aug. 31 Data: Morningstar