NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–After a frightful October, hedge funds seem to be limping back to positive territory, gaining 0.07% in November in the S&P Hedge Fund Index.

Still, hedge funds for the most part are made a poor showing compared with the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, which was up 3.52% for the same time period.

Managed futures managers, on the other hand, returned 4.19% and seem to have had the best time of all last month with currency plays and long metals exposure. Thanks to long positions in the U.S. dollar vs. European and Asian currencies, managed futures firms did well, but for the year through Nov. 30 the strategy is still down 2.56%, according to Standard and Poor’s.

For the first eleven months of 2005, equity long/short managers remain on top, with gains of 6.71%. The S&P Equity Long/Short Index was up 2.48% last month, benefiting from an equity rebound, officials said.

“After the sharp sell-off in October, most markets not only recouped their losses but also reached all-time highs on the heels of supportive economic and corporate data,” said Charles Davidson, senior hedge fund specialist at Standard & Poor’s, in a statement.

Renewed gusto in mergers and acquisitions helped event-driven managers also do well. The S&P Event-Driven Index returned a positive 0.45% in November, riding the wave of buyouts and restructurings.

Special situations managers also performed well, providing a boost to the S&P Directional/Tactical Index. That sub-index gained 1% in November and is up 2.56% for the year to date. Analysts said managers are still holding on to relatively high cash levels in anticipation of a more favorable investment climate next year.

Arbitrageurs seemed to have dragged the index down in November. Managers of these strategies are thought to be in the middle of a sell-off in order to raise cash for year-end redemption requests, S&P officials said. Widening spreads on credits is thought to have hurt convertible arbitrager managers particularly hard in the United States. Fixed-income arbitrage funds, meanwhile, battled the inversion of the yield curve.

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