For the first time since October 2016, the monthly performance of Event-Driven funds was in negative territory. The strategy remains nonetheless the stellar performer in 2017, up 5.7% year to date according to the Lyxor Event Driven Broad index. The summer air pocket was mainly due to the negative returns delivered by special situations funds (-1.8% in August) which suffered losses on consumer holdings. Health care stocks such as NuVasive and Zimmer Biomet detracted from performance earlier in the month; while more recently Sotheby’s and Nestle dragged down the returns of special situations funds. Meanwhile, merger arbitrage funds stayed afloat (+0.1% in August) despite the widening of deal spreads over the course of August. The NXP Semiconductors vs. Qualcomm planned merger continued to be an important driver of performance of merger funds last month, while Time Warner vs. AT&T was a detractor.
On a positive note, CTAs continued to edge higher last week, and as signaled in the previous edition of this report, it is noteworthy that CTAs are presently less reliant on equity trends to generate returns than they were a few months ago. The Lyxor CTA Broad Index was up 1% last week and 2.1% in August while the MSCI World was flat in August. FX and fixed income trends were the main drivers of recent CTA performance. The continued fall in bond yields despite tight labour market conditions in the U.S. and price acceleration in the euro area in August failed to dent the downward trend in in bond yields. In parallel, the Euro continued to appreciate versus the USD and that was also rewarding.
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