Money managers under the microscope
For many money managers who bet exclusively that securities will fall, July may go down in history as their personal Waterloo — .
When performance data is announced in the next few days, the numbers will show high single-digit or even double-digit losses at so-called dedicated short-sellers, industry analysts and investors forecast.
“Every few years short-sellers have their day in the sun,” said Brad Alford, founder of Alpha Capital Management, an advisory firm that invests in hedge funds. “Then things revert to normal where the markets rise and life becomes so difficult for them that many just go out of business,” he added.
Short-sellers began having a bad year as soon as the stock market began to turn around when fears about the global downturn eased. In the first six months of 2009 they lost 9.38 percent, compared with the 9.55 percent that other hedge funds gained.
Insight director of UK equities Andy Cawker, manager of a long-short Ucits III fund, tells me he has been changing the way his fund hedges its market exposure as market conditions change.
His Absolute Insight UK Equity Market Neutral fund, which uses pairs trades to produce a largely market neutral portfolio, has shifted from hedging mostly against the index two years ago to now hedging predominantly against individual stocks.
The Longpigs were one of the lesser lights of Britpop, best known for a number 16 hit with She Said and for launching the career of Richard Hawley. Now though, apparently, short pigs are all the rage.
News reaches us of exciting developments in the world of ETFs where the market is seeking out ways to play swine flu. ETF Securities has seen a surge in volumes and returns of its Short Lean Hogs ETC after the World Health Organisation (WHO) raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to the second highest level last Wednesday.