Perspectives Blog

Puerto Rico’s turbulent ride

Michael Taylor, Senior Municipal Analyst | September 26, 2013

Puerto Rico’s economic contraction and fiscal decline is persistent, well-documented and widely acknowledged within the municipal marketplace. For Puerto Rico, continued access to affordable capital remains imperative for the maintenance of fiscal operations, liquidity, and maintaining investment-grade agency credit ratings. We maintain the opinion that investing in Puerto Rico municipal bonds remains appropriate only for investors who can tole…

Fear is not a strategy

James Dearborn, Head of Municipal Bonds | November 18, 2013

As muni bond prices fell and yields soared in recent months, fear and uncertainty kept investors away. Amidst the unprecedented fear-based sell-off, the fundamentals of the muni bond market continue to strengthen. Bypassing muni bonds may mean missing out on today’s attractive long-term buying opportunities. Tax-free income is a big reason why so many investors have included municipal bonds in their financial plans. In recent months, yie…

Navigating rising rates

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 11, 2013

…Pandl, Senior Interest Rate Strategist, and Gene Tannuzzo, Senior Portfolio Manager It’s time for investors to start thinking seriously about interest rate risk in portfolios. Over the last three decades, long-term government bonds rewarded investors with healthy real returns, relatively low volatility and good performance during economic downturns. But at current yield levels, it is hard to escape the conclusion that prospective returns look muc…

The end of “risk-on/risk-off”

Anwiti Bahuguna, Ph.D., Senior Portfolio Manager | February 3, 2014

…ng markets (EM) vs. developed markets (DM)) used to be low, but also rose to over 80% during this same period, reducing the benefits of cross-regional diversification. Similarly, correlation between equities and high yielding bonds rose from about 50% to over 80%. When investors took risk, most assets rallied with the exception of sovereign bonds. Conversely, when risk sold off, only sovereign bonds had positive returns. This risk-on/risk-off reg…

Opportunity in lower-quality municipals

Columbia Management, Investment Team | August 15, 2013

Recently enacted higher tax rates — and the threat of even higher rates — enhance the attractiveness of tax-exempt income, especially versus other income-producing securities. Lower quality, shorter maturity investment-grade municipal bonds may provide similar yields as longer maturity bonds, but with lower interest-rate risk and volatility. Independent and well-resourced credit research is a critical tool in lower-quality municipal bond invest…

Asset allocation: The conundrum of 2014

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Head of Global Asset Allocation | March 3, 2014

When economic growth levels off, the headwinds for bonds subside, which fits the patterns of 2014 so far. With bond yields at current levels, the attractiveness of interest rate risk from a valuation standpoint is meager. Should the economic data reaccelerate, we would expect equities to perform well and rate sensitive bonds to struggle. In 2013, both the S&P 500 Index and the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds finished the year at their high…

January asset allocation update

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Head of Global Asset Allocation | February 3, 2014

As we assess the global markets in early 2014, our overall portfolio strategy remains modestly overweight equities and underweight fixed income. While we have been anticipating an increase in volatility, we still believe equities will outperform bonds over the course of the year. The current low level of interest rates suggests returns from bonds remain unattractive on a longer term strategic basis. Real returns are likely to be low to potential…