NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–Hedge funds returned 0.49% in September and were up 7.38% year-to-date through that period, according to the Standard & Poor’s Hedge Fund Index.

The month’s best performing category tracked by S&P was the S&P Event-Driven Index, which returned 1.25% in September and a strong 12.42% in the first three quarters of the year. The event-driven category includes merger arbitrage, distressed and special situations funds.

The S&P Directional/Tactical Index, composed of long/short equity, managed futures and global macro funds, returned 0.3% in September and was up 8.91% in the year-to-date period through September.

A related index, the S&P Managed Futures Index, fell 2.24% in September, dragging its year-to-date return down to just 3.32%. The S&P Managed Futures Index is not a sub-index of the S&P Hedge Fund Index because it has more futures funds in it than the broader index does.

Pulling up the rear in September was the S&P Arbitrage Index, with a return of negative 0.13% in the month and a barely positive return of 0.82% for the year-to-date period through September.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index returned negative 1.2% in September but is up 13.2% in the first three quarters of 2003.

PBarr@HedgeWorld.com