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Investment-Grade ETF Uses Interest-Rate Hedge to Lure Investors

A new investment-grade bond exchange-traded fund from ProShare Advisors LLC is embedding interest-rate protection to accommodate investors who expect rates to rise as the Federal Reserve curbs its unprecedented stimulus.

U.S. government bond futures will be used to hedge against rising interest rates in the ProShares Investment Grade-Interest Rate Hedged ETF, which will aim for zero duration, Bethesda, Maryland-based ProShares said in a statement distributed by Business Wire today. The ETF will trade under the ticker IGHG. ETFs, which are listed on exchanges and are bought and sold like stocks, typically allow individual investors to speculate on securities without directly owning them.

“Investors have been fleeing long-term bond funds as concerns grow over losses that might result from rising interest rates,” Michael Sapir, chief executive officer of ProShare Advisors, said in the release. “While many investors have moved to shorter duration bond funds to lessen the impact of rising rates, they remain exposed to some interest rate risk.”

The ETF follows a high-yield version announced in May, after Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said that sustainable labor-market progress could prompt the central bank to reduce its so-called quantitative easing program that’s bolstered credit markets, prompting concerns that a three-decade rally in bonds was poised to end.

Average investment-grade corporate bond yields fell to a record low of 2.65 percent on May 2 and ended yesterday at 3.27 percent, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. Corporate Index. The Fed will begin to curb its accommodative policy in March, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists conducted Oct. 17-18.

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