Eurekahedge’s North America hedge fund index was up 2.3% in the first quarter, outperforming the S&P.

Global hedge fund assets under management hit a record high of $2.1 trillion in the first quarter, according to Eurekahedge, an alternative assets research firm.

Hedge funds gained 0.9% in the first quarter, with fund managers delivering performance-based gains of $21 billion and recording net asset inflows of $38 billion over this period.

Eurekahedge’s North America hedge fund index was up 2.3% in the first quarter, outperforming the S&P 500 index gain of 1.3% over this period.

Total assets in North American hedge funds reached a new high of $1.4 trillion, with assets growing by $33 billion in the first quarter on the strength of performance-based gains and capital allocations in February.

North American long-short equities funds had inflows of $39 billion, finishing the quarter at $705 billion, near their peak of $756 billion reached in December 2007.

Eurekahedge reported that European hedge fund assets ended the quarter at $476 billion, surpassing their October 2007 historical high of $473 billion.

The firm said investors continued to desert CTA/managed futures hedge funds, which posted their 10th consecutive month of net asset outflows in March. These funds saw redemptions worth $5.3 billion in the first quarter.

Eurekahedge reported these other first-quarter results:

  • Distressed-debt investing hedge funds delivered their ninth consecutive month of positive returns, up 2.7%
  • Japan-focused hedge funds recorded their third consecutive monthly losses, down 0.8% in March and 2.1% in the first quarter
  • Latin America-focused managers surpassed all regional mandates, outperforming the MSCI EM Latin America Index by 2.5%
  • Russia- and Eastern Europe-focused hedge funds, weighed down by geopolitical tensions in the region, fared the worst, losing 2.5% in March and 8% in the first quarter.

Check out Hedge Funds Shake Financial System More Than Banks During Crises: Study on ThinkAdvisor.