The actively managed PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged Portfolio (NYSEArca: PHDG) tries to generate positive total returns in a rising or falling market, providing uncorrelated returns to broad equity markets. PHDG includes a blend of equity positions and CBOE Volatility Index Futures to hedge market risks. [Alternative ETFs for Downside Protection]

Potential investors, though, should be aware that while these defensive funds can help hedge against market turns, SPLV and PHDG may lag the equities market in bullish conditions. Year-to-date, SPLV has gained 7.8% and PHDG rose 3.9%, whereas the S&P 500 index increased 9.9%.

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Max Chen contributed to this article.

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