(Recasts with numbers from other managers, adds details on returns)
By Svea Herbst-Bayliss
BOSTON, March 31 (Reuters) - Billionaire hedge fund investors Daniel Loeb and Barry Rosenstein made money in March when the stock market came back with stronger gains, but both men's funds are still in the red for the year, sources familiar with their performance said.
Loeb's Third Point Partners fund gained 3.2 percent in March but is off 1.9 percent for the year while Rosenstein's Jana Partners Fund inched up 1.2 percent during March, leaving it down 6.1 percent for the year, the sources said.
Loeb and Rosenstein are among the most closely watched players in the $3 trillion hedge fund industry and are traditionally among the first to share their performance data, often emailing clients with returns just a few hours after the closing bell of the last trading day of the month.
David Einhorn, whose Greenlight Capital is also tracked closely, is boasting gains of 3.3 percent for the year after a terrible 2015 when he lost 20.2 percent. For March, Einhorn's fund was flat, a source familiar with the returns said on Thursday.
All the managers declined to comment on their performance.
Thanks to a 3.7 percent gain in March, the broader Standard & Poor's 500 stock index is now back in the black with a 0.8 percent gain for the year after a rocky start that was colored by fears about global growth and where interest rates may move.
Hedge funds, unlike mutual funds, are able to bet on rising as well as falling securities, something that analysts say should have helped them weather this year's storm better than other types of investment managers. But many hedge funds were caught off guard by the gyrations in January and have not performed well this year.
Early numbers from Hedge Fund Research show the average fund down 1.85 percent this year after having inched up 1.27 percent in March.
At Greenlight, Einhorn was helped when Apple, one of his largest holdings, climbed 8 percent in March. But another key investment in Sunedison hurt the manager when the stock tumbled 69 percent in March.
Rosenstein's Jana Partners sidestepped some trouble when the manager sold out of its holding in Valeant, the pharmaceutical company that tumbled 61 percent this month, someone familiar with the holdings said. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Howard Goller and Cynthia Osterman)