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Conversely, an investor who does want to make market cap decisions would likely want to avoid ITOT because of the duplication that would come from owning all four domestic funds.

Within the foreign funds IXUS is a combination of emerging market stocks found in IEMG and developed market stocks that are found in IEFA plus Canada which is not included in IEFA. And with fixed income the segments targeted by ISTB and ILTB are generally duplicated in AGG.

Going with a core of broad based funds is a valid strategy but duplicating exposures is unproductive and may create a false sense of diversification.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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