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A Fund for Inflation Protecton

The RINF fact sheet at the ProShares Web site shows the index tracked by the fund has a much lower historical volatility than indexes tracking TIPS and Treasury bonds. However, since RINF started trading in early 2012, it has been much more volatile than the iShares TIPS Bond ETF (TIP) and just as volatile as the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT).

Higher inflation as a result of years of zero percent interest rates and asset purchases is a reasonable outcome even if the timing is unknowable. If inflation does start to rise, then that should be reflected in the spread tracked by RINF and the fund should go up. Additionally, inflation tends to put upward pressure on interest rates which could boost RINF's dividend payment.

There are a lot of variables, but if the fund does what it is intended to do, then it could turn out to be a good holding that avoids interest rate risk; to the contrary, it should benefit from rising rates.

This is a very complicated product and won't be suitable for most investors because of the complexity. While investors shouldn't invest in products that are difficult to understand, there is no reason not to explore alternative funds to see if they can be part of the solution. There is no harm in studying an investment product and deciding no.

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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