We investigate Brazilian hedge funds, a fast-growing market with US$160 billion of assets under management as of September 2009. This study tests the claim that hedge funds can produce abnormal returns (generate alpha), gain market momentum (present market timing) and maintain a low correlation with market risk (zero beta). We find empirical evidence of the existence of high performance funds, although they are rare. Using a robust set of models, we find that, on average, only 5% of funds had positive and significant alphas and just 4% of the fund managers had market timing ability. However, a mitigation of market risk was observed among the hedge funds; approximately 35% of funds showed no correlation with the market. We also investigate the hedge funds’ performance during the financial crisis of 2008 (June 2008 to November 2008) and during the subsequent period of rapid recovery (December 2008 to August 2009).