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Correction protection: The sectors that shine when markets fall

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Positive economic news in the US and the continuing recovery in the UK have pushed equity valuations near to peak levels. So where can investors turn for protection in case markets fall from here?
Correction protection: The sectors that shine when markets fall

Last week, positive employment data in the US pushed the Dow through the 17,000 mark for the first time, while the S&P 500 also hit its 25th record high of the year at 1,985.

The FTSE 100 is yet to break through to a new high, topping out just below 6,900 in this cycle, but it is nonetheless at a multi-year high.

But with valuations so high for equity markets, investors who have ridden the rally higher are getting more concerned.

So where can nervous investors turn? There have been three corrections – falls of more than 10% – for the FTSE All Share over the last five years.

From mid-March to the start of June 2012, the index was down 12%, while between July 2011 and mid August it fell 16%, and between April and July 2010 it tumbled 15%.

During these three periods, global equity markets dropped in unison, leaving equity investors with few places to hide.

A number of leading investors, such as Troy’s Sebastian Lyon, have predicted we may see such an event, meaning investors will need to look elsewhere to protect their gains.

But which assets have provided protection over the last three corrections?

Data from FE shows some striking similarities across all three corrections, with the same sectors not just limiting the downside for investors, but actually making positive returns as equity markets retreated.

Below are the sectors that saw the average fund achieve positive returns during the previous three corrections.

Peak to trough: The sectors that shone as markets fell

16 Mar 2012 peak to 1 Jun  
Sector Average fund return (%)
IMA UK Gilts 7.15
IMA UK Index-Linked Gilts 5.95
IMA Sterling Corporate Bond 2.17
IMA Sterling Strategic Bond 1.03
IMA Global Bonds 0.50
IMA Short Term Money Market 0.14
8 July 2011 peak to 19 August  
Sector Average fund return (%)
IMA UK Gilts 6.02
IMA UK Index-Linked Gilts 5.50
IMA Sterling Corporate Bond 1.38
IMA Short Term Money Market 0.03
9 April 2010 to 2 July  
Sector Average fund return (%)
IMA UK Gilts 5.43
IMA UK Index-Linked Gilts 2.09
IMA Sterling Corporate Bond 1
IMA Short Term Money Market 0.03

Source: FE

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