Short selling is booming again after almost being left for dead because of the GameStop mania, reviving hope that hedge funds could turn things around in 2021.
Hedge funds’ short book generated in July the most effective alpha since 2010, and now it’s outperforming the long side of their strategies, in step with Morgan Stanley prime brokerage data.
The rebound came after a troublesome start to the year when the monstrous GameStop short squeeze inflicted huge pain for brief sellers betting against the brick-and-mortar retailer. because the meme stock trend spread, it caused hedge funds to shut out short bets and generally tackle less risk.
The outperformance within the bearish bets is nice news for hedge funds that are setting out to acquire favor again after a decade of mediocre performance pushed cost-conscious investors away. After three straight years of outflows, hedge funds saw over $6 billion client inflows within the half-moon, pushing the industry’s total assets under management to a record of $3.8 trillion, in line with HFR data.
“Investors are turning to alternative investments for consistent returns to remain within the market after a powerful rally to record highs,” said Greg Bassuk, CEO of AXS Investments. “Hedge funds even have the component of downside protection against the risks of Covid and therefore the Fed tapering.”
The stars looked as if it would be aligning for a hedge-fund revival. For starters, volatility has made a comeback amid a laundry list of macro risks, from a worsening pandemic to the pullback of monetary stimulus and slowing economic process.
Meanwhile, stock correlation has fallen to an rock bottom from a peak in March 2020, making a perfect environment for stock pickers, consistent with Bernstein.
“It is simpler to choose winners and losers in an environment where stocks aren’t acquiring the identical direction in an extreme way,” Sarah McCarthy, global quant and equity strategist at Bernstein, said during a note.
Hedge funds have gained 9.2% in 2021 through the tip of July, in step with HFR. they’re still lagging the market significantly, because the S&P 500 climbed 17% during the identical period.