Hedge funds gain 0.5 percent in April as stocks fall

LONDON Tue May 15, 2012 6:13am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Hedge funds made small profits in April, according to a new performance index, even as global shares sank amidst the market fears over Spain's deepening debt crisis and signs that the U.S. economy was slowing.

The GlobeOp Hedge Fund Performance Index, which tracks the performance of the majority of hedge fund services provider GlobeOp's $187 billion in assets administered, rose 0.51 percent, taking returns so far this year to 3.66 percent, the firm said in a statement.

Returns are shown gross, meaning they do not take account of hedge fund operators' lucrative fees.

The gains came despite a 1.4 percent drop in the MSCI World Equity index .MIWD00000PUS last month, its first monthly loss this year after a bullish first quarter as economic worries resurfaced on both sides of the Atlantic.

The returns come after heavy criticism by some commentators and investors that the hedge fund industry is too correlated to stock market returns.

Data from rival index provider Hedge Fund Research showed funds declining 0.36 percent last month.

GlobeOp says its index avoids so-called 'survivorship bias' as funds cannot choose whether or not they report performance. The index is asset-weighted, meaning the performance of bigger funds counts for more than smaller ones.

(Reporting by Laurence Fletcher; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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