Black Star, Bright Dawn by Scott O'Dell

By Scott O'Dell

During this redesigned variation of Scott O'Dell's vintage novel, a tender Eskimo lady encounters scary stumbling blocks while she takes her father's position within the Iditarod, the once a year 1,172-mile dogsled race in Alaska.

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7 percent. 3 percent for a total reduction of 18 percent, as compared to the S&P 500’s. This reduction of volatility results from a combination of lower standard deviation of the CSFB index and lower correlation of returns between it and the S&P. In general, the lower the correlation of the investments, the lower the volatility of the portfolio combining them. If two investments have perfect negative correlation, that is, they move in opposite directions, it is possible to construct a portfolio of these investments with the resulting portfolio’s volatility equal to zero.

Qxd 12/16/05 9:40 AM Page 36 36 A PRIMER ON HEDGE FUNDS strategies, such as Distressed Securities in the CSFB database, outperformed the S&P in the past 10 years, while others did not. It follows that for traditional portfolios including both stocks and bonds, diversification into hedge funds could achieve both risk reduction as well as higher overall portfolio return. One way to summarize the benefits of hedge funds in terms of both return and risk is the so-called Sharpe ratio. For any investment this ratio involves subtracting the risk-free rate (commonly the one-month Treasury bill rate is used as the proxy) from the investment’s arithmetic or simple average rate of return and dividing the difference by its standard deviation.

This is due to data problems embedded in the indexes, such as the survivorship bias. We return to this issue in Chapter 4. CONSISTENCY OF RETURNS If hedge funds do not produce greater returns than the stock market as measured by the S&P 500, why invest in hedge funds? The answer is because hedge funds have lower risks, or more precisely, their returns have exhibited lower volatility of returns. If risk is measured by standard deviation, studies of hedge fund returns have concluded that as a group, hedge funds have had lower standard deviations of returns than stock market benchmarks.

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