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Managed Futures The Safe Bet In 2008

by Phillip Morton, Investors

03 November 2008

While equity markets have dived this year, managed futures funds gained 0.68% in September, extending their gains to 7.86% for the year, according to the Barclay CTA Index compiled by BarclayHedge.

“As the financial crisis continued to wreak havoc across global equity markets, trend-following CTAs were able to profit from short positions in stock index futures,” says Sol Waksman, founder and president of BarclayHedge.

In September, the Barclay Systematic Traders Index gained 1.94%, Diversified Traders were up 1.56%, and the Financial/Metals Index rose 1.07%.

“Most commodity prices have been in decline since mid-August,” says Waksman. “CTAs, on balance, are currently short these markets, and the price declines were another source of profits for the month.”

“Global fixed income was a difficult area for many traders in September," he added. "The US rescue plan resulted in large counter-trend moves in the interest rate markets.”

The Barclay CTA Index is up 7.86% through September, in stark contrast to a 19.29% decline in the S&P 500.

All eight of the managed futures indices monitored by BarclayHedge have positive returns in 2008. The Diversified Traders Index is up 14.15% after three quarters, Agricultural Traders have gained 10.73%, Systematic Traders are up 9.21%, and Discretionary Traders have gained 9.05%.

The Barclay BTOP50 Index, which monitors performance of the largest traders, rose 0.28% in September. The BTOP50 is now up 6.45% for the year.

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