James Colby has more than 30 years of fixed income experience. Portfolio Manager of Municipal Bond ETFs at VanEck, he is known for his perspective on the U.S. municipal bond marketplace.
In the eleventh hour of the first night of 2013, Congress passed legislation which, among tax increases and other items, left the municipal bond coupon tax-free and unscathed. As you undoubtedly know by now, the bill provides for extensions of the Bush era tax cuts and credits and permanently "patches" the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) going forward.Personal income taxes for individuals with income over $400,000 and households over $450,000 will increase; as will taxes on dividends and capital gains for those investors. There will be much more debate to follow as Congress must address the deficit and debt ceiling in the coming months.The rally in the equity markets and the simultaneous sell-off in Treasuries seem to be an expression of relief from investors who had sought safety in bonds while awaiting the outcome of these deliberations. What needs to occur in my view, however, is a response from business that reflects both relief and confidence in the stimulus. Business may need to see how more revenues will be raised and what programs may be pushed over the cliff before employment increases and GDP can rise.At this time, tax-free investors can exhale knowing that their tax-free income streams remain preserved as we roll off the second strong performance year in a row; the Barclays Municipal Bond Index returned 6.78% in 2012. With higher taxes coming for many Americans, I believe the tax-free coupon makes munis all the more desirable.
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Municipal bonds are subject to risks related to litigation, legislation, political change, conditions in underlying sectors or in local business communities and economies, bankruptcy or other changes in the issuer’s financial condition, and/or the discontinuance of taxes supporting the project or assets or the inability to collect revenues for the project or from the assets. Bonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. Additional risks include credit, interest rate, call, reinvestment, tax, market and lease obligation risk. High-yield municipal bonds are subject to greater risk of loss of income and principal than higher-rated securities, and are likely to be more sensitive to adverse economic changes or individual municipal developments than those of higher-rated securities. Municipal bonds may be less liquid than taxable bonds.
The income generated from some types of municipal bonds may be subject to state and local taxes as well as to federal taxes on capital gains and may also be subject to alternative minimum tax.
Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss.
Investing involves substantial risk and high volatility, including possible loss of principal. Bonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. An investor should consider the investment objective, risks, charges and expenses of a fund carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus and summary prospectus, which contain this and other information, call 800.826.2333. Please read the prospectus and summary prospectus carefully before investing.
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Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. An investor should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. This and other information can be found in the appropriate regulatory documents made available for a specified country as designated in this website.