Catching distress on the rebound

Sun Jun 1, 2003



The very forces that conspired to hinder distressed portfolios last year are now actually helping performance - at least for the moment

Long-term investors in distressed funds know the drill. So do seasoned portfolio managers. It's often either feast or famine. But knowing how long the season will last is another matter. Market cycles influencing performance may be rhythmic, but the duration of such cycles is a bit hard to call with any great accuracy.

Exogenous events that periodically shake distressed funds and their performance are no more predictable than meteor strikes. But such hits, whether the double whammies of Long-Term Capital Management and the Russian bond default in 1998 or last year's corporate scandals, inevitably do strike and crater returns.

The good news for distressed funds today is that the market seemed to overreact to last summer's spate of corporate scandals. In the wake of Enron fever, investors were quick to...

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