March 21, 2017 / 9:25 AM / 5 months ago

Hedge fund Stone Milliner has worst start to a year - letter

LONDON (Reuters) - Stone Milliner, one of Europe's best-performing hedge funds that bets on macroeconomic events, lost 2.1 percent in the first two months of 2017, its worst start to a year, an investor letter seen by Reuters showed.

That meant the $6.1 billion Stone Milliner Macro Fund underperformed industry rivals, which gained 0.4 percent on average in the first two months of the year, data from industry tracker Hedge Funds Research (HFR) showed.

The chief drag on performance was an unspecified short position in fixed income, the Stone Milliner letter to investors said, or a bet that interest rates would rise and prices would fall.

The Anglo-Swiss firm, launched in January 2012 by former Moore Capital traders Jens-Peter Stein and Kornelius Klobucar, has performed strongly previously, outperforming rivals over the last three years with gains of 4.9 percent in 2016, 5.7 percent in 2015 and 14.4 percent in 2014.

The average performance for macro funds, which mainly trade in currency and fixed income markets, was a gain of 1.1 percent in 2016, a loss of 1.3 percent in 2015 and a gain of 5.6 percent in 2014, HFR data showed.

Looking forward, the regular monthly letter to investors said the fund had shifted to a "modest" short position in the U.S. dollar and reduced its short position in the euro against other regional currencies.

"We think the shift in the tone at the ECB (European Central Bank) has caught the market by surprise, and should result in a higher exchange rate over time," the letter said.

Reuters polling data published on Monday showed the world's top 10 banks have backed off forecasts that the euro would fall below parity against the dollar.

Additional reporting by Jemima Kelly; editing by David Clarke

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