U.S. Markets close in 3 hrs 17 mins

Cohen's SAC Advisors up 15.95 percent year-to-date-source

BOSTON (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors has returned 15.95 percent so far this year, delivering strong gains even as the firm prepared to plead guilty to insider trading charges.

The fund, which on Monday agreed to pay a record $1.8 billion in fines and forfeitures, reported to outside investors that it gained 1.30 percent in October, a source familiar with the numbers said.

The year-to-date gain puts SAC among the $2.5 trillion hedge fund industry's best performers this year. The average hedge fund has gained only 5.5 percent, lagging behind the Standard & Poor's 23.2 percent gain through the end of October.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; editing by Richard Valdmanis)