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Hedge funds have delivered subpar returns for more than a decade, but a new survey from Preqin finds many investors are planning to stick with them because they fear another sharp market downturn is coming.

What it means: Half of the investors surveyed said their hedge fund allocations failed to meet expectations, and only 37% believe 2019 performance will exceed 2018’s levels. This follows an Axios analysis that found hedge funds had underperformed the S&P 500 by more than 100% since 2009 and less than 1% of the gain in Americans' financial assets has been in hedge funds since 2015.

Yes, but: 61% of investors in Preqin's survey say the current equity market cycle has peaked (up from 45% a year ago) and 40% are looking to position their hedge fund portfolios more defensively as a result. Further, 4 out of 5 investors plan to hold or raise their allocation to hedge funds over the longer term — the highest proportion since 2014.

  • Hedge funds did much better than traditional equities during the global financial crisis.

The impact: "This is a pivotal moment for the hedge fund industry," Amy Bensted, Preqin's head of hedge fund products, said in a release.

  • "Fund managers may be optimistic about their longer term relationship with investors, but they will need to work hard in the coming months to effectively attract and retain capital."

Go deeper: Explore why the hedge fund moment is over

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.