Municipal Markets >>>

    Harvard Endowment Loses, Trails Peers

    Harvard University, the world’s wealthiest college, lost 0.05 percent on its investments in the 12 months through June, the second drop in four years, as the size of the endowment fell to $30.7 billion. The school failed to keep pace with peers such as the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as it seeks to recover [...]

    Cities Try Fracking for Dollars

    Youngstown, Ohio, needs money to demolish vacant buildings, so it’s turning to fracking. The City Council is debating a proposal to combat blight by leasing the rights for oil and gas drilling under public land. The city has enough money to raze only 260 homes, with more than 5,000 other structures vacant or ready for demolition, Mayor Charles P. [...]

    Market Braces for Seasonal Glut of Supply

    The $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market is heading for its worst monthly performance since June. If the past decade is any guide, October may be even worse. Munis on average have lost 0.41 percent in October since 2001, the biggest decline for any month, Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes show. This month, local-government bonds have gained about 0.21 percent, the least since they lost [...]

    California Town to Vote on ‘Fiscal Emergency’

    Atwater, California, is going broke under the weight of public employee costs, lost revenue and a stagnant economy, pushing it toward becoming the state’s fourth city to seek bankruptcy protection. The city of 28,000, situated among Merced County’s dairies and almond groves about 100 miles southeast of San Francisco, has a $3.3 million deficit that may leave it insolvent before year’s end, according [...]

    San Jose Pensions Make Hedge Fund Entry

    Two pension plans in San Jose, California, are poised to make their initial foray into investing in hedge funds by deploying $730 million to improve returns. The City of San Jose’s Police and Fire Department Retirement Plan and the Federated City Employees’ Retirement System seek to invest in 15 to 20 hedge funds in the next six to [...]

    Q&A: ‘We could see another onslaught of issuance,’ says Guggenheim’s Pass

    Jim Pass, a Chicagobased managing director at Guggenheim Partners, which oversees about $8.5 billion of munis, discussed the threat of tax-reform and the increasing risk of non-appropriation for debt service with Municipal Market’s Brian Chappatta. Q: Are you concerned about the talk from Washington about changing the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds? A: It’s something we think about, but at the same time we have to [...]

    Market Frets About Threats to Tax-Exemption

    Tax proposals from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would help drive municipal yields to the highest level since March by ending the debt’s tax advantage at lower income levels, Morgan Stanley estimates. Romney, who trailed President Barack Obama in some national polls this month, recommends ending federal taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for those earning less than $200,000 annually. The shift would make [...]

    Numbers In Context: 2012 Almost Matches 2011 in Issuance, With a Full Quarter Still To Go

    Total issuance of fixed-rate municipal bonds through Sept. 14 has been about $248 billion, just $10 billion less than such sales in all of 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. States and municipalities issued about $258 billion in fixed-rate debt last year, the least since at least 2003, the data show. Issuance climbed to $408 billion in 2010 as localities rushed to sell taxable [...]

    California Pension Reduces Bonuses, Raises

    The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest pension in the U.S., reduced bonuses 12 percent for investment officers after stocks dragged down returns. Most also went without pay raises. The pension distributed $3.6 million in bonuses among 55 investment officers, down from $4.1 million last year, according to Calpers data. The sums are based on investment results over [...]

    California Yield Penalty Shrinks to 75 Bps

    California debt is poised to extend its biggest rally in at least 18 years as Governor Jerry Brown curbs borrowing and pushes for tax increases to plug deficits. The extra yield over top-rated municipal bonds that investors demand to own 10- year securities of the most-populous U.S. state and its localities is set to fall for a fifth straight quarter. That’s [...]

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