The muni market seems to be returning to normal after major outflows last summer, though several potential hot-button issues could still spook investors. We don’t think these represent major risks to market returns or properly positioned portfolios. (more…)
We think investors who build laddered portfolios to protect against rising rates will be disappointed—by locking in low yields with traditional ladders or by hidden risks of higher-yielding ladders. In our view, actively managed portfolios are better able to take advantage of changing markets.
In early 2013, we urged investors to take a hard look at the interest-rate risk in their bond portfolios. If they didn’t do it then, they have a chance to do it now. (more…)
Municipal bonds have rallied in 2014, but low yields, memories of last year’s sell-off and the potential for higher rates ahead have many investors wondering how to maneuver. We have a couple of ideas.
After more than two decades of a fixed-income bull market, 2013 was not a great year for the bond market. Rates bottomed out, many mutual funds had negative returns and bond mutual funds experienced a record $80 billion in redemptions as investors hit the panic button. But it would be foolhardy to assume that 2014 will be a repeat year for fixed income. Rather, the bond market has become more complex and will likely reward those who closely study what worked, what did not and why. (more…)
Recent negative news about Detroit’s bankruptcy and Illinois’s pension overhaul has raised fears about the poor financial health of many cities and states. And it’s shaken individual investors’ confidence in municipal bonds. Just how worried should investors be? Not very, in our opinion, as bond defaults remain very rare. In fact, we view recent events in Detroit and Illinois as positives for the market. (more…)
The wealthy will likely see higher 2013 income taxes. One of the newest additions to the tax bill is the 3.8% Medicare surtax. By planning ahead, you may be able to reduce the tax bite—or possibly avoid being bitten altogether. (more…)
The US Federal Reserve surprised the market on September 18 when it announced that it wouldn’t “taper” its monthly US$85 billion asset purchase program until the economy strengthens. Many investors saw this as a reprieve. We see it as a chance to position bond portfolios for rising rates. (more…)
Joe Rosenblum (pictured), Neene Jenkins and John Ceffalio
Every state faces challenges when it comes to balancing the books, but not every state is equally effective at tackling them. The responses of California and Illinois to post-2008 difficulties show how different the approaches can be—and how much is at stake. (more…)
Muni bonds suffered a rout recently when anxiety over the Fed’s taper of bond buying roiled fixed-income markets, leaving many investors wondering where to turn. As it turns out, munis have historically been effective shock absorbers. We believe that, given the right positioning, munis can help weather rising rates. (more…)