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Capital Markets

Chinese hedge fund managers face test as market turns

Outperforming stocks have helped returns but sector may need fresh talent

Shanghai’s Pudong financial district. China-focused hedge fund returns last year were higher than the global average.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Hedge funds focused on Chinese stocks were big winners in 2017, returning 35% according to data from eVestment, a data provider owned by Nasdaq, the U.S. financial services group. Returns were substantially higher than the global hedge fund average of 9%, and easily outpaced a 19% upswing in the S&P 500 benchmark index in the U.S.

It is not yet clear, however, whether these stellar returns reflect astute judgments by managers or the underlying strength of Chinese stocks, which hit an 18-month high in June following MSCI's decision to include them in its global benchmark equity index for the first time. Increasing global tensions over trade may provide an answer.

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