Right from get-go in 2012, investors were shaking off a long spell of market anxiety, becoming more willing to venture into equities and add more risk to their portfolios, according to Scott Burns, director of ETF research at Morningstar. The reason was performance - the firm's aggressive allocation category, for instance, was up a solid 8% through Jan. 31. Its bank loan group was also higher, up 8%, and the China region group rose 7.4%.

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