Displaying items by tag: munis

Sunday, 05 May 2024 07:06

Yield Seekers Should Look at Munis

Bonds are generally lagging behind this year, with the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index down by 3% year-to-date as of April 2022. Municipal bonds are similarly affected, with the ICE AMT-Free US National Municipal Index showing a 1% decline since the year's start. However, pockets of strength exist within the municipal bond space, particularly in high-yield offerings like the VanEck High Yield Muni ETF (HYD), which has seen nearly a 1% increase year-to-date. 


Despite the higher risk associated with high-yield bonds, HYD maintains a balanced risk profile, with a significant portion of its portfolio allocated to investment-grade bonds. Offering a 30-day SEC yield of 4.49%, HYD presents an attractive option for investors seeking enhanced yield opportunities, particularly those comfortable with added risk and in higher tax brackets. 


Overall, high-yield munis could serve as a credible alternative to junk corporate bonds, especially considering their relative resilience amid rising interest rates and the potential for enhanced returns compared to traditional municipal bond funds.

Finsum: Munis market is capitalizing on the current environment and investors don’t want to miss out. 

Published in Wealth Management
Monday, 08 April 2024 04:57

Bond Market Shifting toward SMAs

Investors with over $250,000 are increasingly turning to separately managed accounts, allowing them to handpick municipal bonds with professional guidance. These accounts now hold $987 billion in assets, surpassing mutual funds, which hold about $769.7 billion.


This shift has significantly boosted business, with Franklin Templeton seeing a 50% increase in assets under management over the past year and a half. Lowering the minimum investment to $250,000 has made these accounts more accessible, though still beyond the reach of most Americans. 


However, advancements in technology are driving further accessibility, with potential for minimums to drop to $100,000 in the near future. With artificial intelligence breaking down barriers by making management for portfolio quicker to digest the minimums are bound to fall. 

Finsum: The SMA explosion is here to stay in the fixed income market and managers should watch the evolution. 


Published in Bonds: Total Market
Thursday, 28 March 2024 06:19

The Bond ETFs Offering an Efficiency Advantage

In today's interest rate climate, holding a significant cash reserve is a prudent strategy. While long-term investors may benefit from stock investments, individuals requiring immediate access to funds or building emergency savings find value in holding cash. With high-yield savings accounts offering rates of 5% or more, real returns on cash savings are attractive. However, for those seeking to optimize returns while maintaining liquidity, there are two fixed income ETFs that offer advantages. 

Two ETFs, iShares 0-3 Month Treasury Bond ETF (SGOV) and JPMorgan Ultra-Short Municipal Income ETF (JMST), offer different tax strategies to potentially enhance after-tax returns without significant additional risk.

Short-term Treasury bonds provide state tax exemption on interest earnings, making them appealing for residents of high-tax states, while municipal bonds offer federal tax exemption and may also be exempt from state and local taxes. Investors should assess the trade-offs between tax advantages and lower yields to determine the best fit for their financial situation.

Finsum; When accounting for tax advantages, fixed income ETFs could provide a more secure and efficient outlet for mitigating risk. 

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Friday, 01 March 2024 03:14

Three Key Trends in Munis

In 2023, municipal bonds showed a recovery after a tough 2022, largely due to late-year rallies and shifts in Federal Reserve policy. However, the market has not fully rebounded, indicating ongoing opportunities in 2024. 


First, strong credit fundamentals are expected to persist, supported by substantial federal spending post-pandemic, leading to record tax receipts and rainy-day balances.


Next, strategically positioning across the yield curve offers chances to secure historically high yields, particularly in the long end, where steepening curves and higher yields prevail compared to U.S. Treasuries. Anticipated recovery in demand may see mutual fund inflows resume, especially for long-term funds and ETFs. Separately managed accounts (SMAs) are likely to remain popular among investors seeking customization and tax efficiency.


Finally, despite recent tactical investor decisions, municipal bonds continue to offer tax-free income, solid credit quality, and promising long-term returns, making them a strategic allocation option. Given current market conditions, entering the municipal bond market now may prove compelling for investors.

Finsum: Muni’s are leaving lots of options for investors on the table to tactically deploy in 2024. 


Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 01 February 2024 04:19

Vanguard Launches 2 Municipal Bond ETFs

Vanguard is launching 2 new ETFs giving investors exposure to the municipal bond market. The Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (VTEI) and the Vanguard California Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (VTEC) launched on the CBOE BZX Exchange and are designed to offer targeted exposure to certain segments of the muni market with an emphasis on quality and yield. 


Both also have low expense ratios of 0.08%, making them among the least costly within the muni fixed income category. The intermediate-focused, tax-exempt ETF is particularly timely given expectations that interest rates will decline in 2024 due to a dovish Fed and weakening economic outlook. Thus, many investors are looking to lock in yields at these levels by moving out from the short-end into the intermediate and longer-end of the curve. 


In addition to quality and generous yields, municipal bonds also have tax benefits. While VTEI is designed to appeal to a wider swathe of investors, VTEC is for investors who want exposure to California municipal debt. The yield generated from this ETF is tax exempt at the federal and state level for California residents while also prioritizing credit quality. 

Finsum: Vanguard is launching 2 intermediate-term, municipal bond ETFs that offer investors tax benefits in addition to income and quality.  


Published in Wealth Management
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