Safety in Safety Stocks

When investors seek a safe investment, many think of bonds. Fixed coupons and stable prices are attractive to highly risk averse investors. 

As an alternatives to bonds, some investors buy so-called "safety" stocks, such as utility stocks and real estate investment trusts (REITs). 

For discussion:

1. What is attractive about safety stocks in this environment?

2. Why would rising interest rates make safety stocks LESS attractive?

3. Would you buy utilities and REITs right now?