In 2012, the aggressive and persistent actions by central banks and other authorities worldwide served to maintain an unfavorable market environment that began in 2009 for most trend following systematic programs. Many short, medium and long-term trend following CTAs, as well as other trend following hedge fund strategies performed poorly... While these indexes all reported losses for the second year in a row, the S&P500's climb (+13.4%) continued through year end. Although markets for hedge funds generally were better than for CTAs,... the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index rose only 3.5% in 2012...the Newedge Trend Following CTA Sub-Index is down 5.89% since the bottom of the financial crisis in March 2009.
This performance contrasts sharply with longer term numbers, particularly in the CTA space. Since 1980, as measured by the Barclay Hedge Btop50 Index of CTAs, managed futures have returned three times that of the S&P500, approximately 32 times an initial investment vs. 11times an original investment for the S&P 500. And in 2008 the S&P was down 45% while the Btop50 was up 14%.