Investors wonder how to reconjure the old magic

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Remember when a mystique surrounded hedge funds and the alchemy with which they conjured their other-worldly returns?

Lately, their profits have fallen to earth, and the biggest mystery has been why investors are more obsessed with hedge funds than ever.

Of course, there is no other realm of investment management that has been having any more luck squeezing profits from the current balky markets.

But thoughtful hedge fund managers are preparing for the day when the tide turns and investors start diverting their dollars to sectors that at least require less lofty terms.

In