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With bonds in general, you will potentially lose a little principal if interest rates rise right before you want to sell. However, if you wait for things to stabilize, the principal should return. The shorter-term the bonds, the less sensitive to interest rates.

What measure of risk do you want? According to www.morningstar.com,

http://quicktake.morningstar.com/Fund/RatingsAndRisk.asp?Country=USA&Symbol=STADX#anchor2

http://quicktake.morningstar.com/Fund/RatingsAndRisk.asp?Country=USA&Symbol=VBISX#anchor2

these funds have noticeably different risk profiles. For instance, STADX focuses on junk bonds and tries to predict which companies are more likely to default, hence the higher expenses. VBISX tries to replicate the entire short-term bond market.

Morningstar seems to think STADX is slightly more risky, due to its choice of investments.
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