Long-term trend following funds are headed for a third straight year of losses unless the underlying commodity and financial markets they trade settle into a more predictable pattern, which does not seem likely given the Federal Reserve's mixed signals on the U.S. economic stimulus.
Many trend followers were whipsawed in the first half by market gyrations over whether the Fed would cut its bond buying this year. More volatility seems likely; last week, the Fed said it needed more time to decide.
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Details on the performance and asset size of some CTAs, and comments from their managers:
-- Quantum Leap Capital, Sugar Land, Texas --
- "The essence of succeeding as a CTA is having the opportunity to enter and stay in a market. You really need continuous movements and in one direction. If only three or four of the markets you're in are doing that, then it's going to downsize your returns."
"We kept getting stopped out of our trades by mixed signals in July. We have very tight stops, tighter than most CTAs. We got chopped up on gold, soybeans and copper."
-- Abraham Trading, Canadian, Texas --
Comment from founder Salem Abraham
- "In the years CTAs really made money, markets moved 30 to 50 percent over 6 to 12 months. This year's moves are much smaller and too short."
-- M6 Capital, Germantown, Tennessee --
Comment from manager Chris Myers
- "There is no lack of opportunity in agricultural markets in coming months. M6 Capital's analysis continues to point to these opportunities being in both bull and bear markets."
-- Campbell & Co, Baltimore, Maryland --
Comment from business development manager Tracy Wills-Zapata
- "I would certainly say that metals have been a strong contributor for us, both industrial and precious."
-- Novus Investments, San Ramon, California --
Comment from managing director Don Davis
- "We're far from perfect, but we did catch the recent move up in gold."
(Reporting by Barani Krishnan; Editing by David Gregorio)