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These Equity Funds Have Played Good Defense

We screen for quality-conscious, defensive-minded funds that have earned their keep in weak markets.

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Stocks' 2016 losses have been especially jarring, with the S&P 500 dropping more than 9% for the year to date through Feb. 8, 2016. Aggressive categories like small-cap growth have fallen nearly twice as far. But the U.S. stock market's losing streak actually dates back to mid-2015: After scraping its high point in late May of last year, the S&P 500 has dropped roughly 15%. 

Some investors' natural response to such bruising losses might be to run for cover, yanking money from stocks and seeking shelter in less-volatile asset classes like cash or Treasury bonds. Sure enough, true high-quality bonds have proved their mettle amid this tough environment; most such categories are in the black so far in 2016, and the typical long-term government-bond fund has gained more than 7% through Feb. 8. 

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Christine Benz does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.