NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–Hedge fund performance slipped into negative territory for the year, according to Standard & Poor’s Hedge Fund Index, which fell 0.54% in July and is down 0.2% year-to-date through July.

The S&P Arbitrage Index was the only category to have positive performance in July with a return of 0.51% and 1.18% for the year. S&P’s Arbitrage Index contains convertible arbitrage, equity market neutral and fixed-income arb strategies.

The S&P Event Driven Index returned negative 0.75% in July and positive 1.26% year-to-date. The Event Driven Index includes merger arbitrage, distressed securities and special situations strategies.

The S&P Directional/Tactical Index was the worst performing sub-category in the broader index with a return of negative 1.41%, bringing its return for the first seven months of 2004 to negative 3.05%. That category includes global macro, long/short equity and futures strategies, the last two of which had a particularly bad month, according to S&P.

The S&P Equity Long/Short Index, which is separate from but related to the broader index, returned negative 1.86% in July but is too new to have a year-to-date return. The S&P Managed Futures Index returned negative 1.72% in July and is down 8.12% year-to-date.

The July hedge fund performance was better than the U.S. stock market returns. The S&P 500 Stock Index returned negative 3.42% in July and negative 0.1% year-to-date.

PBarr@HedgeWorld.com

Contact Robert F. Keane with questions or comments at: bkeane@investmentadvisor.com.