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There is a famous market that says “As January goes, so does the year.” The same can be said about last year’s market mania in January and some of the hedge funds’ returns in 2021.
In a year when the market lifted many funds higher, GameStop still proved to have an overall impact on the numbers of some of the funds on either side of the trade.
Senvest Management – which famously earned “one of the big fortunes of the January market mania”, as the Wall Street Journal described it, by being long GameStop ahead of the frenzy – generated year-round returns of 85 percent, according to a well-known investor with the numbers.
In the year through November, Senvest, with $ 3.2 billion in assets under management, was the best-performing hedge fund, according to figures from HSBC. And it’s likely that the company’s year-round performance enabled them to maintain that status.
Other side of the GameStop trade
Those who were on the opposite side of the GameStop trade had a harder time recovering. Melvin Capital, which faced retailer anger over a publicly announced position at the video game retailer, had a loss of 39 percent in 2021, according to a person with knowledge of the numbers.
After January, however, Melvin was firmly positive with returns of 33 percent between Feb. 1 and Dec. 31, the person said. The company ended the year with $ 11.7 billion in assets.
The story of two hedge funds shows the sustained effect of the volatility around GameStop in the first month of 2021 and how it contributed to returns and losses for institutional investors for the full year.
Citadel, led by Ken Griffin, and Steve Cohen’s Point72 made a $ 2.75 billion cash infusion to help stabilize Melvin in the midst of the short squeeze. In the end, Citadel redeemed some of this capital, but according to their agreement, both companies are entitled to a share of Melvin’s revenue and return.
For its own overall performance, the Citadel showed double-digit gains, with the flagship Wellington Fund rising 26 percent last year, minus fees, according to a person with knowledge of the numbers. Point72 showed gains of 9.2 percent, two people said.
But perhaps the real winner was GameStop, an increase of 670 percent in 2021.
Hedge fund results for 2021
Return last penny for selected hedge funds is below, according to CNBC sources:
- Citadel / Wellington Flagship: + 3.88% in December and an increase of 26.26% for the year
- DE Shaw Composite Intl Fund: 0.17% in December and an increase of 18.5% for the year
- Point72: 1.83% in December and an increase of 9.22% for the year
- Balyasny Atlas Enhanced: 0.67% for December and 8.29% for the year
- Exodus Point: up 2.25% in December and up 5.50% for the year
- Carlson Capital (Double Black Diamond): 2.9% for December, 13.3% for the year
- Sculptor Master Fund: up 0.13% in December and up 5% for the year (confirmed by SEC filing)
- Pershing Square Holdings: 5.7% in December 26.9% for the year (confirmed by website)
- Greenlight: +9.5% in December and 11.9% in 2021
- Melvin + 3% in December, -39% for 2021
- Late West, + 85% for 2021