Gold declined another 6.5 percent since its great fall on April 15. Yesterday gold futures were volatile, after an initial loss in the day, the shares suddenly jumped up and closed up 3.12 percent. However today again they are back on the downward slope, SPDR Gold Trust (ETF) (NYSEARCA:GLD) is trading down 2 percent for now.
The unexpected detraction in this safe haven asset and the corresponding positioning of hedge fund trades is something we have discussed back in April and now we are going to look at it again as April performance numbers have started trickling in from these funds.
Woodbine Capital, a macro focused hedge fund, returned a brilliant 5.15 percent on a gross basis in last month and 4 percent net, this brings the fund’s four month net returns to 7.4 percent. While the major performer for Woodbine continues to be longs in Japanese stocks, the fund also profited from a tactical short trade in gold which Woodbine has since exited. The over 10 percent decline in gold in April must have contributed handsomely to Woodbine’s short in gold. Woodbine has previously lost in long gold positions.
C12 Was Caught Offguard With The Sell-off In Gold
In Japan Woodbine is bullish on banks and exporters, it also sees strength in the Japanese real estate sector, but reduced exposure in that area in April. Other major positions of Woodbine are long in Mexican peso against US dollar and long in short-dated Mexican rates. The latter is a new position that was added in anticipation of a rate cut by Mexican central bank towards the mid of this year.
Another hedge fund, C12 Capital Management’s C12 Helix Liquid Opportunities with $983 million under management, was up 2.2 percent in April and down 0.27 percent YTD. C12 was caught offguard with the sell-off in gold, the fund did not expect such a massive detraction when all central banks had such supportive monetary policies in play. Based on the massive detraction, C12 decided to exit the position last month. In other commodities the fund notes a rally in copper in April which would need support from stronger demand and corresponding supply.
C12 has short hedges in S&P500, the fund expects it to detract at the end of year. Other notable holdings of the fund include long brent oil, short in Japanese bonds, hedges in German sovereign bonds and short in EUR versus the USD.
Armajaro Commodities Fund with over $1.07 billion in assets under management was down 0.5 percent in April, taking the YTD returns to +2.8 percent. The monthly commentary notes the biggest two day decline in gold prices in April and argues that gold’s future is not very bright unless economic data from US weakens.
Other than the above mentioned hedge funds, we know Argonaut Capital has successfully shorted gold futures over the past months and we anticipate that the fund must have netted the largest gains from the position if not exited already. Gold was also a major loser for big names like David Einhorn, John Paulson, Paul Singer, but the detraction has not shaken their resolve. Mostly these big players entered in gold trades when prices were below $1000, so they are still not losing yet.