According to data compiled by Goldman Sachs, the average hedge fund is up 1% in 2015, lagging the S&P 500 by about one percentage point.
“Hedge fund performance is off to a respectable start in 2015 after a poor 2014,” Goldman Sachs Ben Snider said. “Global macro funds have been the strongest performers (2%) as volatility in oil, FX, and rates continue to dominate the investing landscape.”
There are a few caveats to note. Importantly, many hedge funds aren’t trying to necessarily beat the S&P 500, so we shouldn’t assume that it’s an appropriate benchmark.
But having said that, this information will nevertheless have hedge fund investors asking themselves why they’re paying such high fees to underperform or just match what they can get cheaply at Vanguard or some other low-cost, index fund provider.
Goldman, however, does note that a basket of hedge funds’ favourite short positions would have beaten the S&P 500. Among the most heavily shorted stocks are AT&T, Comcast, Intel, Visa, Walt Disney, Exxon Mobil, and Kinder Morgan.
The median short position in Goldman’s “Very Important Short Position” list of 50 stocks would have returned 3% year-to-date.