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John Paulson's Hedge Funds Weather Another Tough Month

John Paulson
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
John Paulson

November proved another disappointing month for some key Paulson & Co. hedge funds, including the gold fund, which dropped nearly 12 percent, and the firm's two umbrella funds, Advantage and Advantage Plus, which were down a respective 4.7 percent and 6.5 percent.

With only a month left to trade, some of which will be affected by light trading during the religious holidays, those moves make it almost certain that all three Paulson funds will have fallen for the year – by significant degrees (a respective 21, 17, and 22 percent). (Read More: Paulson's Bet on Euro Zone Backfires)

Still, the news wasn't all bad for the $20 billion hedge-fund manager, which issued November's results to investors early Friday evening. Paulson's merger-arbitrage funds, the strategies that gave the money manager its start in 1994, were both in the black for November, with the Partners fund rising 1.4 percent and its leveraged sibling, the Enhanced fund, up 2.5 percent. (Read More: Paulson Pared Bank of America Stake Before Settlement)

That leaves those funds up a respective 7 percent and 12 percent for the year, performances which should be bolstered by the expected CNOOC purchase of the oil-sands driller Nexen, of which Paulson is a major holder. (The CNOOC-Nexen deal received a crucial blessing from the Canadian government Friday.)

Nonetheless, it's a sensitive time for Paulson, whose Advantage funds in particular have faced investor redemptions in the wake of a second straight year of poor performance. The average hedge fund rose 2.6 percent year to date through November, according to HFR, rendering those umbrella funds, which are exposed to each of Paulson's major strategies, remarkable underperformers. And at the same time, other large hedge funds, including SAC and Third Point, are enjoying far stronger performances that are well into the double digits. (Read More: Despite Sweet Deal, 92nd Street Y Redeems Paulson Money)

Paulson's other funds, Credit Opportunities and Recovery, were up very slightly and down 2.3 percent respectively. That leaves the credit fund up 5.6 percent year to date through November, and the recovery fund up a fraction of a percent. (Read More: Paulson Fund Losses Prompt Some Investors to Pull Out)

CORRECTION: Paulson's Advantage and Gold funds fell a respective 4.7 percent and 11.6 percent for the month of November, and the gold fund is down 21 percent year to date. An earlier version of this story, which was based on performance specific to only one set of Paulson investors for the same time period, reported the results as respective drops of 3.6 percent and 9.5 percent for the month, and nearly 30 percent year to date.

—By CNBC's Kate Kelly; Follow her on Twitter: @KateKellyCNBC