Bonds: Munis

According to Vanguard, investors that allocated part of their portfolios to low-yielding municipal bonds at the beginning of last year should now be looking forward to the prospect of higher income, thanks to a rapid rise in rates. In a fixed-income report for the first quarter, the fund firm wrote, “Following a year with $119 billion of outflows from municipal funds and ETFs, we expect the tide to turn. For high-income taxable investors, we are expecting a municipal bond renaissance.” According to the report, muni bonds only offered yields of around 1% at the start of 2022, compared to yields that now exceed 3% before adjusting for tax benefits. Tax-equivalent yields are at 6% or even “meaningfully higher for residents in high-tax states who invest in corresponding state funds.” Vanguard said that this makes munis a “great value compared with other fixed income sectors and potentially even equities—especially with the odds of a recession increasing.” According to the Vanguard report, muni bonds also remain strong from a credit perspective, with attractive spreads over comparable U.S. Treasurys and corporate debt. In fact, municipal balance sheets are stronger now than they’ve been in two decades, leaving states well-prepared to navigate an economic slowdown.


Finsum:According to Vanguard, higher yields and solid balance sheets make muni bonds a highly attractive option for investors this year.

The $4 trillion municipal debt market is expected to have a “bounce back year” in 2023, according to Charles Schwab’s Cooper Howard. The director and fixed-income strategist for the Schwab Center for Financial Research said in a recent Bloomberg TV interview that “A slower pace of interest-rate hikes, attractive yields, and relatively healthy state and local government finances should lure investors back after demand plunged this year.” He also stated “Credit quality is very high in the municipal bond market. State and local revenues have surged to record-level highs driven by the economic recovery. Given the rise in yields, it is more attractive for retail investors, so there will be more demand coming into the market.” Munis had fallen out of favor due to a combination of inflation and recessionary concerns. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, muni sales are down nearly 19% this year at about $351 billion. However, 10-year municipal yields have more than doubled since the start of the year. While recessionary fears may continue, the municipal market won’t be as affected due to healthy credit ratings. Howard expects municipal debt tied to public transportation to lead the rebound as the airline industry is bouncing back.


Finsum:Schwab strategist Cooper Howard predicts a bounce-back year for munis due to slow rate hikes, attractive yields, and healthy credit in state and local governments.

Last week, Charles Schwab announced the upcoming launch of the Schwab Municipal Bond ETF (SCMB). The ETF, which is expected to begin trading on October 12, will trade on the NYSE Arca. SCMB will have an expense ratio of only 0.03%, which will be much lower than comparable funds. The ETF will provide access to the broad U.S. investment grade, tax-exempt bond market. The fund’s goal is to track the total return of the ICE AMT-Free Core U.S. National Municipal Index, which measures the performance of the U.S. AMT-free municipal bond market. SCMB seeks to provide income exempt from federal taxes and is not subject to the federal alternative minimum tax. The ETF will have a high credit quality profile, investing only in investment-grade rated securities. John Sturiale, Head of Product Management and Innovation, Schwab Asset Management, stated, “As bond yields have risen, fixed income investing is more attractive than it has been in years, making this an opportune moment to introduce a new choice for investors seeking a low-cost, straightforward approach to income, diversification and risk management in their portfolios.”


Finsum: Charles Schwab is launching an ultra-low-cost Municipal bond ETF targeting investment-grade securities.

Page 1 of 8

Contact Us

Newsletter

Subscribe

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

Top
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…