Barclays, though, argues that the risks are management, even if rates rise, and the relationship between rates and performance in the areas is not as strong as some would believe. The analysts pointed to four periods when interest rates rose by at least 100 basis points in six months. For instance, in 2003, REITs and MLPs both jumped 10% while utilities fell behind. In 2009, MLPs surged 40% in six months. During 2010 and 2011, REITS were the the best performers, and MLPs were not too far behind. Lastly, during the taper tantrum of 2013, MLPS were slightly up while utilities remained flat and REITs dipped.

Looking at the data, Barclays concluded that utilities are more stable, MLPs perform well and REITs are inconsistent during periods of rising rates.

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Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of XLU and AMJ.

Max Chen contributed to this article.