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March 09, 2006

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Steve

From today's WSJ ... kinda interesting .. while hedge guys are surely prone to (massive) exaggeration, its highly possible folks managing Eastern European funds are already up >10% this year.

Time to switch careers?!!

1:39 p.m.: Hedge funds have been faring well this year -- especially in Eastern Europe. Overall, hedge funds returned 3.8% through February, according to Hedge Fund Research. That compares with a 2.6% gain by the S&P 500. Emerging-market hedge funds gained 7.52% overall, with Eastern European funds at the top with returns of 10.5%. The primary reason is a commodity-driven boom in Russia, said Ian Hague, co-portfolio manager of the Firebird Fund, a New York hedge fund that invests in Eastern Europe. "It's really a kind of golden moment for equities for a place like Russia," he said, since oil prices are boosting the country's stocks and putting rubles in consumers' pockets.

Another factor driving Russia's market higher is a reduction on the limitation of shares available to foreign investors of the Russian oil giant Gazprom, which has seen its American depositary receipts rise 13% year-to-date, said Mr. Hague. But there are signs of a slowdown. Through March 8, Morgan Stanley Capital International's Eastern Europe index is up 14.8% for the year, but that includes a 4.3% decline in March.

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