Preparing for a bear market

Investors rushing to funds designed for success in a down market. Could the end of the market rally be near?

By Kim Peterson Nov 24, 2009 6:06PM
Bear market © Hemera Technologies/JupiterimagesIndividual investors are worried about the market and pouring money into bear-market and long-short mutual funds, Bloomberg reports.

JPMorgan Chase and Pacific Investment Management say that people are following the lead of hedge funds and preparing for the end of the stock market rally.

So far this year, they have put about $10 billion into mutual funds designed to protect against falling stock prices, according to Bloomberg. That's more than twice the amount that flowed into these funds in 2006, which was the previous record.

The funds’ rising popularity shows how skeptical small investors remain even after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index recouped almost half the 57 percent loss incurred from October 2007 to the March 2009 low.

The most popular fund is reportedly Hussman Strategic Growth (HSGFX), which attracted $1.7 billion through September. That was almost matched by JPMorgan's Highbridge Statistical Market Neutral Fund (HSKAX).

Pimco's Fundamental Advantage Total Return Fund (PFATX) has received about $786 million.

Long-short funds will, as the name suggests, sell some stocks short but remain long on others. Long-short funds generally have more longs, while bear-market funds have more shorts.

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