The Hennessee Hedge Fund Index advanced 3.5% in September, and is up 4.7% year to date, Hennessee Group LLC announced Thursday.

For the same periods, the S&P 500 index advanced 8.8% in September and is up 2.3% for the year, while Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 7.7% (+3.5% YTD) and the NASDAQ Composite Index climbed 12% (+4.4% YTD).  Bonds advanced as well. The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index increased 0.1% (+7.9% YTD).

“Hedge funds had their best month since May of 2009 and continue to outperform the broad market year to date,” Hennessee co-founder Charles Gradante said in the statement. “While managers are concerned about elevated macroeconomic risks, we are beginning to see growing optimism about the equity markets in the short term. The Federal Reserve is determined to create growth and inflation, benefiting equities, which look attractive relative to other asset classes.”

The Hennessee Hedge Fund Indices are calculated from performance data reported to the Hennessee Group by a diversified group of more than 1,000 hedge funds.  The index comprises an equally weighted average of the funds in the Hennessee Hedge Fund Indices. The funds in the index are derived from the Hennessee Group’s database of some 3,500 hedge funds and are net of fees and unaudited.