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The Error-Proof Portfolio: Rising Rates a Wake-Up Call for Your Whole Portfolio

Long-term Treasuries weren't the only asset class to fall during the recent rate rout; here's what else dropped and why.

Christine Benz 05.08.2013

Before the recent spike in Treasury yields, investors were in widespread agreement that long-term bonds, especially long-term Treasuries, would be particularly hard-hit in a rising-rate environment. Sure enough, long-term Treasuries have gotten socked during the past few months as yields have jumped up. The typical long-term Treasury fund in Morningstar's database dropped about 13% from the time yields began rising in early May through July 5, when yields topped out (at least for now).

Yet rising-rate pain hasn't been limited to long-term Treasuries. A host of disparate categories, from emerging markets to REITs, have experienced large losses recently.

Does that mean you should scrub your portfolio of securities you perceive to berate-sensitive? Not necessarily, as rates can turn on a dime. Just during the past week, Treasury yields have dropped down again, and the bonds have rallied as Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke aimed to reassure investors that the Fed won't be tapering its bond-buying program imminently. Moreover, there's notelling that the crop of investments that fared poorly in the recent rate uptick will necessarily struggle in the next one. Additional factors--from slowing economic growth to an appreciating dollar--might have played as much a role in their recent troubles as rising rates.

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About Author

Christine Benz  Christine Benz is Morningstar's director of personal finance and author of 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances and the Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: 5-Star Strategies for Success. Follow Christine on Twitter: @christine_benz and on Facebook.

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