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Posts Tagged ‘junk bonds’

Our Plan Continues To Come Together

June 14th, 2016 by Kurt L. Smith

There has been no letup in the municipal bond market this year. Yields are low, prices high and firm. Yet we continue to find worthwhile bonds which I believe is a testament to our approach.

Thankfully, the municipal bond market provides a tremendous amount of variety. We have fifty states plus Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam. We have general obligations, revenue bonds of an almost endless variety, along with debt secured  by countless types of assets. All this variety and that’s before we throw on the essentials for fixed income: a coupon rate and maturity.

This variety, the anti-generic, is a crucial component of our approach. It is unique in the investment world and this is tremendously important as the world of investing has largely become one big, high-priced, low yielding world in which returns are piddling, that is when values aren’t plunging.

Asset classes, across the spectrum, are struggling, some plunge and pop, but overall it is downright tough to have a plan to diversify a portfolio and feel comfortable that you are making progress with your investments. Traditional thinking has failed to work, or just plain failed, while unconventional thinking seems to be …conventional. Where are the ideas that work? (more…)

What? Municipals on Top?!

January 15th, 2016 by Kurt L. Smith

Happy New Year!  Municipal bonds were one of the best performing asset classes for 2015*.  That doesn’t happen often (ever?)!  Municipal bonds didn’t post stellar returns but compared to the sub-par performance of almost every other asset class, municipal bonds came out on top.

Obviously we don’t invest in municipal bonds because we think they will be the top performing asset class each year.  We like the income, particularly tax-free income.  Municipal bonds may not have the sex appeal of other, perhaps higher yielding investments but they also do not have some of the risks.  In this era of low (to no) interest rates we have seen others chasing yields in all kinds of asset classes from master limited partnerships (MLPs) to high yield junk bonds and even in higher dividend stocks.

2015 saw some investments for yield really take it on the chin.  According to The Alerian MLP Index, Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) as an asset class lost about forty percent of their value last year.**  Forty percent is enough to whack off many years of projected income and price fluctuation is but one of the risks associated with MLPs.  Sure the yield (income) investors were hoping to grab is still there…unless the MLP cuts the dividend rate, another risk associated with MLPs.  No doubt MLPs performed well for many years prior to 2015, but then, bam, the trend moves in another direction leaving MLP investors to try and salvage their investment. (more…)

Municipals, Bonds Without Peers

April 21st, 2015 by Kurt L. Smith

When will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates?  This is the question investors want to know.  Yet I will tell you, it does not matter.  The market tells us interest rates began to rise in 2012; the market will tell us how fast interest rates rise from here. (more…)

Stocks, Bonds & Optimism

August 8th, 2014 by Kurt L. Smith

Years ago, in the middle of the raging bull market of the late 1990s, I taught a bond class in SMU’s continuing education program.  One notable feature I highlighted in the class was how bond performance had matched stock performance since the beginning of the bull market in the early 1980s.

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“Welcome To The Everything Boom”

July 20th, 2014 by Kurt L. Smith

The July Letter almost didn’t make it as the same old, same old markets continued their gravity defying ways. On July 7th however, The New York Times saw fit to publish this headline as their front-page lead: “From Stocks to Farmland, All’s Booming, or Bubbling.” (more…)

NEWS FEED

The $247 trillion global debt bomb washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-2…