After years of lackluster returns, hedge funds are finding some footing.
The nearly $3 trillion industry posted its best performance in more than four years in March, by one account, though it still lagged the S&P 500 stock market benchmark. Preqin, which tracks the alternative asset industry, said its own benchmark for hedge funds rose 2.82 percent for the month, the best total since January 2012.
Equity strategies experienced a solid month, bringing home a return of 3.79 percent during a month where the S&P 500 jumped 6.3 percent, according to Preqin.
Emerging markets showed the best gains for the month, returning 5.85 percent, while macro-focused strategies fared the worst, rising just 0.2 percent.
Despite the boost from March, Preqin's All-Strategies Hedge Fund benchmark has declined 0.28 percent for the year. That trails the S&P 500, which was up about 1.6 percent of the year as of Wednesday afternoon trading.
Hedge funds have had a difficult run since posting some big years heading into the financial crisis. Nearly eight years of aggressive Fed policy have pushed basic market returns higher, but increasing correlations and dampened volatility have made it hard to generate outperformance.