January 30, 2011 |
Worries about out-of-control state deficits, underfunded municipal pension plans and rising interest rates have been kicking the teeth out of the municipal bond market lately, with prices plunging and yields soaring. And that's got some contrarians saying that now may be the time to jump into the market. "This is a great time to get into munis for anyone looking for income in their portfolio," said Mark R. DeMitry, senior portfolio manager at the Oppenheimer Funds. "If you have a long-term horizon and can withstand the ups and downs of the market, it seems like there's a great opportunity.
February 22, 2008 |
California, the biggest borrower in the municipal bond market, will replace $1.25 billion of so-called auction-rate bonds with traditional debt after a series of auction failures nationwide sent rates soaring. The state will convert $400 million of auction-rate general obligation bonds sold in 2003 and $500 million of power revenue bonds and $350 million of water bonds sold in 2002, debt manager Paul Rosenstiel said Thursday. The bond sales will occur within months, he said. "We plan to redeem these as soon as we can so that we are out of auctions," he said.
March 24, 2009 |
Individual investors so far have placed orders for 75% of the $4 billion in tax-free bonds the state of California is selling this week -- a huge turnout that may allow Treasurer Bill Lockyer to boost the size of the deal. The state's brokerage syndicate will continue taking orders from individuals today. On Wednesday, institutional investors such as mutual funds will put in their orders. Heavy demand from individuals shows investors were hungry for the relatively high yields the bonds are expected to pay. For California residents, interest on the securities is exempt from state and federal income tax. Municipal bond yields in general are near or above their levels of June, when the state last sold general obligation bonds to raise money for infrastructure projects.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 1990
On April 10, we voters of San Juan Capistrano will face a challenge and an opportunity. This is Measure D, the bond issue to purchase 140 acres of open space. Since this is a small election, some folks may not vote--"I'm too busy," "My vote won't be missed because Measure D is sure to pass anyway." Don't you believe it! Every vote is needed; Measure D requires two-thirds approval. It merits everyone's support. After D is approved and implemented, the city will be able to acquire 140 acres of land for passive open space, playing fields, a social center and agricultural preservation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 5, 1989
Yes, Vista schools are overcrowded and need refurbishing, but the November bond issue is a poor way of taking care of the problems. How did our schools get into this pickle? When our school board had the opportunity to collect sufficient fees to build new schools, it didn't, and even now it has explicitly stated its opposition to developer fees, and declared that general obligation bonds are the only fair method of financing new schools. It has also stated that this $38.8-million bond is only the first of several bond issues.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 22, 2009 |
California's finances have stabilized enough that on Friday the state was taken off one watch list of debtors facing possible bond-rating downgrades. Getting off the Moody's Investor Services "watch list" means there is less threat of a ratings reduction that would cost taxpayers millions of dollars more when the state borrows money. Moody's action came a month after the governor and Legislature plugged a $23.6-billion budget hole by making deep cuts in spending. "The outlook on the state of California is stable at this time, based on the expectation that the state will deal with any further challenges to its budgetary balance and liquidity without another major cash crisis," Moody's said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 30, 1986
The future quality of higher education in California will be at stake Nov. 4 when voters decide the fate of Proposition 56, the Higher Education Facilities Bond Act of 1986. Proposition 56 authorizes the state to issue $400 million in general obligation bonds to fund construction and equipment projects over the next two years for the University of California, the California State University and the California Community Colleges. The bond funds are desperately needed to modernize obsolete laboratories, make seismic, health and safety improvements, equip laboratories and classrooms, and build libraries, classrooms and research facilities.
October 8, 2009 |
California came up short as it tried to sell longer-term municipal bonds to individual investors this week -- the first such sale since last spring. The steep decline in market yields on muni bonds since July has left many investors unwilling to lock up their money in new bonds, traders said. California, which is offering $1.3 billion in tax-free general obligation bonds to finance voter-approved infrastructure projects, said it took in orders for $428 million, or 33% of the total, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
March 9, 2010 |
California, with the weakest credit rating among the 50 states, is hoping individual investors will see opportunity in trouble as it tries to sell $2 billion in tax-free bonds this week. As he has done with previous bond sales, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer is spending money on an ad campaign to lure investors to the general-obligation bonds. Strong demand from individuals would mean fewer bonds left for institutional investors such as mutual funds. If that means the big players have to compete more aggressively for the remainder of the deal, the state might be able to pay a lower overall interest rate to borrow, saving taxpayers cash.
March 6, 2010 |
California and its local governments have long counted on a large captive audience for their debt: Many of the buyers are high-income individual investors who live here and find the federal and state tax exemption on California municipal bond interest too attractive to pass up. This has been one case where having most of your eggs -- or at least your bond eggs -- in one basket seemed defensible. After all, municipal bond defaults have always been rare events. They still may be relatively rare for a long time to come.