Hedge funds that use computers to follow trends lost money for a second straight year in 2012 as political debates over the U.S. fiscal cliff and Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis roiled markets, reports Bloomberg.
The Newedge CTA Trend Sub-Index, which tracks the performance of the largest computer-driven, or quant funds, fell 3.4 percent last year after a 7.9 percent decline in 2011. David Harding’s $10 billion Winton Futures Fund Ltd. slid 3.5 percent in 2012, its second annual decline since opening in 1997, investors in the pool said. Man Group Plc (EMG)’s $17 billion AHL Diversified fund fell 2.1 percent, while BlueCrest Capital Management’s $14 billion trend-following fund gained 0.02 percent, said the investors, who asked not to be identified because the figures are private.
The performance of the funds belies their popularity with investors, who’ve poured $108.2 billion into the pools since the end of 2008, according to Fairfield, Iowa-based BarclayHedge Ltd. While quants made money during the financial crisis when other hedge funds didn’t, they’ve since stumbled as market sentiment swung from optimism to pessimism based on political announcements in Washington and Brussels, breaking up the trends they try to follow. That may force investors to withdraw money….