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I’m an avid investor in munis, primarily with FMS (Andrew Blum is excellent to work with), and I agree with much of what you say in your article, “Where the Action is.” But maybe your articles border on the optimistic? A recent article in the Wall Street Journal is a bit more sobering than the state budget/revenues report that you cited, and though the article talks about the safety of munis, the current economic conditions are certainly of some serious concern.- D.W., California
We appreciate your business and kind words about Andrew Blum, who we consider a consummate professional.
We agree with your thoughts as well as those of the Pew report outlined in the Wall Street Journal article, and we expressed a similar caveat in our commentary when we noted: “Of course there are still hurdles. Economic uncertainty remains and many states expect to face financial issues in the next fiscal year."
Although we readily concur with the Pew Project that local governments may find themselves strapped for cash, we also share its optimism that "their budgets usually aren't so tight they will skip bond payments or file for bankruptcy."
As you know, no investment is without risk. This is why we always recommend that credit quality be the bond buyer's first priority.
I own some Jefferson County bonds due in 2015 that are insured by Ambac. I can’t understand why, with the increasing likelihood of imminent default, they are still trading in the low to mid 90s. Should I sell, or is something afoot that would cause these serial bonds to be paid off in full in 2015?- W.L., Florida
Currently, Ambac is in the process of emerging from bankruptcy and has maintained its claims-paying ability through these difficult times.
Although there are no guarantees regarding the eventual redemption of your securities, based on the prices at which these bonds are trading, market participants are betting on a positive outcome.
Were Jefferson County bonds insured? If they were, would the principal be paid? I only invest in insured bonds.- T.R., New York
Many of the Jefferson County bonds are insured. Interest and principal are currently being paid by the insurers.
This report is produced solely for informational purposes and is not to be construed as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments. This report is based on information obtained from sources believed to be reliable but no independent verification has been made, nor is its accuracy or completeness guaranteed.