Hedge funds have posted their best start to a calendar year since before the financial crisis. But, behind the strong headline numbers, managers are struggling to cope with some confusing moves in markets.

Funds gained a tidy 6 per cent in the first quarter, according to data group HFR, helped by rising stock markets and a sharp rally in beaten-down so-called “value” areas of the equity and credit markets that some funds favour.

Some returns have been eye-popping. Senvest, helped by a well-timed position in GameStop, has gained 67 per cent. Crispin Odey’s Odey European fund, one of the sector’s most volatile funds, is up 56 per cent, and Lee Ainslie’s Maverick Capital, which latched on to the value rally, is up more than 40 per cent.

But, those figures aside, most investors in hedge funds have not enjoyed such strong gains, and many managers’ returns have been far more mundane. For instance, equity hedge…

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