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More Muni Mania

Investors in search of safety, yield — and a sweet tax break — continue to pour money into muni funds.

Municipal-bond funds, including exchange-traded funds, took in $800 million during the week ended July 25, the 15th consecutive week of positive flows, according to Lipper, a research firm. In fact, muni funds have had only three weeks of outflows over the last 47.

What’s behind the hot streak? Analysts say some investors are snapping up munis to increase their tax-exempt income, especially with the Bush-era tax cuts due to expire at the end of the year if Congress doesn’t act; municipal bond income is free from federal taxes and many state and local taxes. Others, they say, are simply chasing performance. Muni funds are up nearly 6% this year, following a 9% gain in 2011.

But with yields on munis near all-time lows – the average Triple- A rated 10-year muni yields 1.57%, down from 3.17% at the start of 2011 — some analysts say those attractive returns can’t last. Matt Fabian, managing director of research firm Municipal Market Advisors, wrote this week that the municipal bond market could get “whipsawed by rapid moves in U.S. Treasurys” because rates are near record lows.  “The stakes are higher as yields get lower and lower because prices become more volatile,” says Fabian.  Such price moves could spook investors who already unhappy with lower yields and may be looking for a reason to sell their bonds, he says.

Meanwhile, as the Wall Street Journal recently reported, some investors are worried the recent spate of municipal bankruptcies could be a sign that more cities are defaulting strategically — and not out of necessity — as a way to reduce their debt loads. Such a shift could make investors more wary of borrowing from state and local governments, says Tom Roseen, an analyst at Lipper.

Still, many investors continue to favor munis, noting that defaults remain low. So far this year, 41 municipal bond issuers defaulted for the first time, compared to 68 by the same time last year, according to Municipal Market Advisors. “We’re on pace to have the lowest amount of defaults in three years,” says Fabian.  Anthony Valeri, fixed income strategist for LPL Financial, prefers intermediate and long-term munis because they offer the most attractive yields. While they would also be most sensitive to a rise in interest rates, Valeri says he expects slower growth and lower inflation expectations to keep rates low and performance stable.


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    • By WebOsPublisher

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      WordPress › Support » How-To and Troubleshooting
      [resolved] Embedded videos mess up RSS feeds (8 posts)
      Posted 2 years ago #
      I currently use “WordPress Video Plugin” to plugin videos from yahoo, google video, youtube, …. and other sites into the posts.
      This works fine except for the RSS feeds. The method of embedding seems not compatible with RSS. RSS feeds show code instead of the video. Code :
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      The method suggestes by wordpress to embed google videos does not seem to work anymore. (en.blog.wordpress.com/2006/02/06/google-video/) Shane Bill’s comment doesn’t seem to work either.
      Thanks for your advice!
      Theme Diva $ Forum Moderator
      Posted 2 years ago #
      Is this a self-hosted WordPress site or a wordpress.com site?
      Posted 2 years ago #
      It’s a self hosted site.
      Theme Diva $ Forum Moderator
      Posted 2 years ago #
      Have you tried embedding videos without a plugin?
      Posted 2 years ago #
      I just put in the URL now. WordPress indeed did do the auto-embed. So the post still looks the same.
      I had a look at the RSS feed. Problem is not solved. It still shows the code shown above.
      Theme Diva $ Forum Moderator
      Posted 2 years ago #
      Try deactivating any facebook plugins.
      Posted 2 years ago #
      Tx, solved the problem. It’s related to the “share on facebook” plugin I use as well!
      Posted 2 years ago #
      kcaluwae – can you please elaborate? We’re having the same problem but don’t know how “share on facebook” would cause this issue.
      Topic Closed
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      Started 2 years ago by kcaluwae
      Latest reply from mstover
      This topic is resolved
      WordPress version: 2.9.1
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      Code is Poetry

    • The matchless answer ;)

    • As pointed out by Bond Girl, for Meredith Whitney to be right, most of the major local governments in the nation would need to collapse. In relative terms, we would need at least 100 more Stocktons.

      There are many good reasons why Chapter 9 has remained a last resort for local governments, and why the governments that have filed for Chapter 9 have continued to honor commitments to bondholders, but the central reason is the desire not to be locked out of the municipal bond market for a long period of time. Unlike corporate bankruptcies where there is always the threat of liquidation, municipalities exist in perpetuity and have to be able to provide essential government services to residents. It is very difficult to conceive of a government undertaking, improving, or maintaining large projects and facilities without some measure of access to the capital markets.

    • Buy individual bonds.. hold to maturity.. do not buy funds right now.. You will get crushed as far as the value with no maturity in a fund.. when rates go up,,

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