Moreover, the industry has also launched a range of international low-volatility products, such as the iShares MSCI EAFE Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: EFAV), iShares All Country World Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: ACWV) and PowerShares S&P International Developed Low Volatility (NYSEArca: IDLV). In addition, there are some that focus on the emerging markets, like the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Minimum Volatility (NYSEArca: EEMV) and PowerShares S&P Emerging Markets Low Volatility (NYSEArca: EELV).

Earlier this month, PowerShares further segmented the U.S. market, launching the PowerShares S&P Mid Cap Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: XMLV) and the PowerShares S&P Small Cap Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: XSLV). [Low-Volatility ETFs: Small and Mid-Cap Funds on Tap]

Nevertheless, low-volatility ETFs could underperform larger indices in short-term market rallies because they do not include the riskier, and potentially more profitable, stock picks. For instance, SPLV gained 8.7% over the past three months while the S&P 500 rose 10.0%.

For more information on low volatility funds, visit our low volatility category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

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