NICE, France (HedgeWorld.com)–Distressed securities hedge fund managers continued to post decent gains in October, leading all hedge fund strategies tracked by the Edhec Alternative Indexes, compiled and published by Edhec Business School’s Risk and Asset Management Research Center.

Despite a slip into negative territory in May and a relatively flat month for July, distressed managers have posted year-to-date gains of 11.23% through Oct. 31. According to preliminary October return figures from Edhec, distressed managers earned 1.55% during the month. They were helped by continued low levels of stock market volatility and the strong overall performance of corporate bonds, according to Edhec’s analysis.

October was particularly kind to commodities managers, however. CTA Global managers returned 3.81%, according to Edhec’s preliminary numbers, well ahead of the next-best performing strategy, emerging markets, which returned 1.73% in October.

CTA managers benefited from what Edhec officials called a “steep rise” in commodity prices and an increase in the term spread, the difference in yields among bonds with varying maturities. CTA managers’ October returns followed a decent September, during which CTA funds earned 2.2%, according to Edhec’s analysis, but overall 2004 has been up-and-down for commodity specialists. Year-to-date through October, they have eked out a 0.64% return.

Emerging markets managers have posted the second-best year-to-date returns of the strategies tracked by the Edhec Alternative Indexes, 8.36%. A more friendly stock market environment, particularly among small-cap stocks, as well as a strong corporate bond market helped the strategy. It’s been a mostly “up” year for emerging markets managers, with the exception of a couple of rough patches in April and May and a couple of flat months, June and July, according to the Edhec analysis.

Three strategies–short selling, convertible arbitrage and equity market neutral–posted negative returns in October. Other strategies–event-driven, fixed-income arbitrage, funds of funds, global macro, long/short equity, merger arbitrage and relative value–all posted returns of between 0.5% and 1.3%, according to Edhec’s analysis.

CClair@HedgeWorld.com

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