Market View: Munis—The Spread of Opportunity
A basis point is equivalent to 0.01% (1/100th of a percent).
Yield to Worst is the lowest yield that can be paid on a bond, assuming the issuer does not default. The calculation takes into consideration worst-case scenarios in which the bond would be paid prior to maturity. It is assumed the bond will be prepaid if current interest rates are lower than the current coupon rate.
The Barclays High Yield Municipal Bond Index is an unmanaged index consisting of noninvestment-grade, unrated, or below Ba1 bonds. The Barclays High Yield Municipal Bond Index is a subset of the Barclays Municipal Bond Index, a rules-based, market-value-weighted index engineered for the long-term tax-exempt bond market.
The BofA Merrill Lynch Municipal Index tracks the performance of the investment-grade U.S. tax-exempt bonds. Categories include 1-12 years, 12-22 years, and 22-plus years.
The BofA Merrill Lynch U.S. Corporate Master Index is a market value-weighted index that tracks the performance of U.S. dollar-denominated investment-grade rated corporate debt publically issued in the U.S. domestic market. To qualify for inclusion in the index, securities must have an investment grade rating (based on an average of Moody's, S&P, and Fitch) and an investment grade rated country of risk (based on an average of Moody's, S&P, and Fitch foreign currency long term sovereign debt ratings). Each security must have greater than one year of remaining maturity, a fixed coupon schedule, and a minimum amount outstanding of $250 million.
The BofA Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index is a market value-weighted index of all domestic and Yankee high-yield bonds, including deferred interest bonds and payment-in-kind securities. Issues included in the index have maturities of one year or more and have a credit rating lower than BB-/Baa3, but are not in default. The index limits any individual issuer to a maximum of 2% benchmark exposure.
A Note about Risk: The value of investments in fixed-income securities will change as interest rates fluctuate and in response to market movements. As interest rates fall, the prices of debt securities tend to rise, and as interest rates rise, the prices of debt securities tend to fall. Lower-rated bonds carry greater risks than higher-rated bonds. Investments in high-yield securities (sometimes called junk bonds) carry increased risks of price volatility, illiquidity, and the possibility of default in the timely payment of interest and principal. Income from municipal securities may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federal, state, and local taxes may apply. There is a risk that a bond issued as tax-exempt may be reclassified by the IRS as taxable, creating taxable rather than tax-exempt income. Bonds may also be subject to other types of risk, such as call, credit, liquidity, interest-rate, and general market risks. Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, commonwealths, and possessions may be affected by local, state, and regional factors. These may include, for example, economic or political developments, erosion of the tax base, and the possibility of credit problems. No investing strategy can overcome all market volatility or guarantee future results.
Treasuries are debt securities issued by the U.S. government and are secured by its full faith and credit. Income from Treasury securities is exempt from state and local taxes.
Taxable equivalent yield is the pretax yield that a taxable bond needs to possess for its yield to be equal to that of a tax-free municipal bond. It does not reflect state and local income taxes or the alternative minimum tax, if any and will vary based on each investor's tax bracket.
Indexes are unmanaged, do not reflect the deduction of fees or expenses, and are not available for direct investment.
The credit quality ratings of the securities in a portfolio are assigned by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (NRSRO), such as Standard & Poor's, Moody's, or Fitch, as an indication of an issuer's creditworthiness. Ratings range from 'AAA' (highest) to 'D' (lowest). Bonds rated 'BBB' or above are considered investment grade. Credit ratings 'BB' and below are lower-rated securities (junk bonds). High-yielding, non-investment-grade bonds (junk bonds) involve higher risks than investment-grade bonds. Adverse conditions may affect the issuer's ability to pay interest and principal on these securities.
The opinions in Market View are as of the date of publication, are subject to change based on subsequent developments, and may not reflect the views of the firm as a whole. The material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research, or investment advice, is not a recommendation or offer to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy, and is not intended to predict or depict the performance of any investment. Readers should not assume that investments in companies, securities, sectors, and/or markets described were or will be profitable. Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. This document is prepared based on the information Lord Abbett deems reliable; however, Lord Abbett does not warrant the accuracy and completeness of the information. Investors should consult with a financial advisor prior to making an investment decision.