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What's the Best Diversifier for Equity Risk?

Christine Benz (christine.benz@morningstar.com)

Plain-vanilla, high-quality bonds have been among the best diversifiers for equities over the past decade, eclipsing every other asset class on that front. After all, correlations data are based on past performance, and a performance pattern that held true in one market environment may not prevail into the next. In the financial crisis, for example, categories that had performed well in previous equity-market downturns, including municipal bonds, corporate bonds, and commodities, lost value amid a global flight to quality and liquidity.