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BUSINESS
By JAY HANCOCK | March 9, 2008
Investors in municipal bond mutual funds got a shock if they looked at prices last weekend. Thanks to a large supply of new muni issues, worries about credit insurers and general deterioration in the debt markets, munis plunged the last week in February, culminating in a dive off the cliff on Leap Day, Feb. 29. Such turmoil in securities long regarded as conservative and safe illustrates how unsettled the market is. T. Rowe Price's Tax-Free Income Fund...
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BUSINESS
By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun | July 7, 2011
Maryland will share in a $75 million settlement that state attorneys general across the country negotiated with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to resolve allegations of bond derivative bid-rigging that defrauded states, counties and nonprofits, the state said Thursday. The Maryland attorney general's office said it was not yet clear how much would go to each of the 25 states involved in the settlement. But about 10 agencies and nonprofits in Maryland are expected to receive money, including the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical System.
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BUSINESS
By Pat Widder and Pat Widder,Chicago Tribune | June 30, 1991
NEW YORK -- Municipal bond experts are warily measuring the fallout from the Bridgeport, Conn., bankruptcy filing.The evidence is far from conclusive. But it appears that the $840 billion municipal bond market, and the millions of investors who put their money into one of the few tax-exempt havens left in the United States, are taking this latest shock in stride.It is also clear, however, that potentially explosive structural pressures are building in the local governments that underlie the municipal market.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | January 16, 2011
Municipal bonds traditionally have been a refuge for the risk-averse, as many are backed by the full faith and credit of state and local governments, but those same investors lately have been bailing out at a record rate. A few factors can be blamed for this sudden retreat, but the one making all the headlines is the fear that cash-strapped states and municipalities issuing the bonds will renege on promises to investors. Those simmering concerns were stoked last month when respected banking analyst Meredith Whitney warned on "60 Minutes" that 50 to 100 or so cities and counties will default on "hundreds of billions of dollars" of municipal bonds.
BUSINESS
By Bill Atkinson | August 25, 1997
IT IS A QUESTION that two federal agencies are trying to answer: Did Alex. Brown Inc. and other investment banking firms intentionally overcharge municipalities millions of dollars in fees while underwriting bond offerings?The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service have gathered stacks of documents from dozens of municipal bond offerings completed in the early 1990s to find out. They have yet to announce their findings a year into the investigation.What they have done, however, is turn the sleepy municipal bond industry into a caldron of backbiting and finger-pointing.
BUSINESS
By Guy Halverson and Guy Halverson,Christian Science Monitor | June 2, 1991
NEW YORK -- States and municipalities across the Unite States are facing mounting budget difficulties this year. But at least, in most cases, they are having no trouble financing their deficits. The demand for tax-free municipal bonds is up substantially."April was one of our very best months since January 1990, in terms of asset gains for state tax-free municipal bond funds," says Heidi Baxter, marketing manager for the tax-free funds of XTC Fidelity Investments in Boston. The funds are benefiting, she says, from a "combination of higher taxes, declining interest rates -- which makes existing bonds more valuable -- diversification and the possibility of tax benefits."
BUSINESS
By ANDREW LECKEY | October 16, 1992
For municipal bonds and their investors, it's been a very good year.The average tax-exempt municipal bond fund boasted a total return of nearly 10 percent for the past 12 months. About 6 percent of that is yield and 4 percent capital appreciation of underlying bonds.Munis should still look good no matter who is in the White House next year. After all, they remain the only tax-advantaged game in town, except for deductible home mortgage interest. Some experts predict municipals could be even more advantageous in the event of a Clinton presidency.
BUSINESS
By BILL BARNHART | November 21, 2004
THE STRONG report on job growth in October contained a tip for high-income investors. One of the fastest-growing categories of new jobs was educational services. Schools are hiring teachers. The tip for investors is that the municipal bond market, which suffered from low interest rates and depressed state and local economies, is rebounding. "The recovery has been pretty solid," said Cadmus Hicks, a vice president at Nuveen Investments, a specialist in municipal bonds. Of the bond-issue referendum proposals on the Nov. 2 ballot, 90.5 percent were approved, a 10-year high.
BUSINESS
By Scott Berry and Scott Berry,MORNINGSTAR.COM | May 7, 2000
Now that everyone has paid his or her taxes (or at least filed for an extension), it is as good a time as any for investors to check the tax efficiency of their investment portfolios. If a portfolio is throwing off large amounts of taxable income, swapping out of a government- or corporate-bond fund and into a municipal-bond fund could go a long way toward trimming next year's tax bill. In years past, muni funds were commonly reserved for investors in the highest tax brackets, but nowadays their gross yields are not far off those of comparable Treasury bonds.
BUSINESS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | May 20, 1997
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court cleared the way yesterday for investors to sue city governments for securities fraud in the sale of municipal bonds.Without comment, the court refused to review a federal appeals court ruling that said Congress did not intend to exempt cities from the 1934 law that bans deception in the sale of securities.The combined city-county government of Denver sought to head off lawsuits by purchasers of the bonds that it sold seven years ago as a way to raise money for a new international airport.
BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella and Lorraine Mirabella,lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com | August 4, 2009
Baltimore Development Corporation officials said Monday that they are seeking proposals for office buildings, hotels, business parks or other projects that might have stalled amid the recession and might qualify for some of more than $30 million in federal stimulus funds allocated to the city. The city plans to dole out $30.8 million in recovery zone bonds made available through the federal stimulus legislation - the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act - for new construction, expansion or rehabilitation of commercial projects.
NEWS
By Frederick N. Rasmussen | July 15, 2009
Richard F. Mulligan, a former longtime manager of the municipal bond department at Alex. Brown & Sons, died Thursday from metastatic melanoma at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 76. Born and raised in New York City, the son of an Empire Trust Co. bank teller and a homemaker, he was a 1950 graduate of Fordham Preparatory School. After serving in the Army as a private from 1952 to 1954, he went to work at the Federal Reserve Bank and Smith Barney & Co. in New York City, and while attending Fordham University at night, earned a bachelor's degree in 1958.
BUSINESS
By EILEEN AMBROSE and EILEEN AMBROSE,eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com | September 7, 2008
Municipal bonds are exciting this year - just what their investors hate. The latest thrill occurred about a week ago. Alabama's largest county barely avoided filing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history as it struggles to keep up with payments on its sewer bonds. That has raised concerns that other municipal bonds could face similar challenges as cities, states and other issuers nationwide grapple with weakening tax revenue and a fallout from the subprime mortgage bust. States and local governments issue municipal bonds to finance the construction of schools, stadiums, hospitals, roads and bridges.
BUSINESS
By ANDREW LECKEY and ANDREW LECKEY,Tribune Media Services | August 31, 2008
Q. When investing in municipal bonds, how and why do you calculate the tax-equivalent yield? - H.E., via the Internet A. A municipal bond is a debt security issued by a state, municipality or county to finance its capital expenditures. It is exempt from federal taxes and from most state and local taxes. The tax-equivalent yield is the pretax yield that a taxable bond needs for its yield to equal to that of a tax-free municipal bond. "Munis usually make sense for investors in the 25 percent or higher tax brackets," said Mark Balasa, certified financial planner.
BUSINESS
August 17, 2008
Constellation's rating gets cut A major Wall Street firm cut Constellation Energy Group's credit rating after the Baltimore-based company recently revised its estimate of how much collateral it would need to address such a downgrade. Corporate credit rating agency Standard & Poor's cut Constellation's rating from BBB+ to BBB and gave it a "stable" outlook for maintaining the rating. After one analyst highlighted the revisions and another questioned the company's accounting, Constellation's stock sank 16 percent Tuesday, the largest one-day drop since 2001.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose and Eileen Ambrose,SUN REPORTER | August 12, 2008
M&T Bank yesterday announced it has hired 15 specialists who had made up the core of the municipal bond department of regional brokerage Ferris, Baker Watts Inc. The hires, which occurred during the past month, allow Buffalo-based M&T to expand into the fixed-rate municipal bond business. All but one of the bond specialists will work in Maryland. "It's a terrific fit," said Atwood "Woody" Collins III, president of M&T Bank's Mid-Atlantic Division. "This gives us the full spectrum of municipal bond underwriting, sales and trading."
BUSINESS
By Bill Atkinson and Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF | May 6, 1997
A month after it agreed to sell out to Bankers Trust New York Corp., Alex. Brown Inc. said yesterday that it will close its struggling municipal bond division in a move that will likely result in 100 employees losing their jobs.In all, 160 employees will be affected by the restructuring: some will be reassigned, some will join Bankers Trust in New York and others will lose their jobs, said Mayo A. Shattuck III, Alex. Brown's president and chief operating officer.About 50 employees in Baltimore are likely to be laid off in the reorganization, Shattuck said, with the rest throughout the country.
BUSINESS
By WERNER RENBERG | February 23, 1992
The prospect of getting high tax-free income from a long-term municipal bond fund might seem increasingly attractive these days, as you receive IRS forms that remind you of how much taxable income your investments brought in 1991.But you may be hesitant to get into such funds. Maybe you're concerned about the ability of state and local governments, which issued tax-exempt bonds that funds own, to pay interest and repay principal when scheduled.If so, why not take a look at insured municipal bond funds?
BUSINESS
By JAY HANCOCK | March 9, 2008
Investors in municipal bond mutual funds got a shock if they looked at prices last weekend. Thanks to a large supply of new muni issues, worries about credit insurers and general deterioration in the debt markets, munis plunged the last week in February, culminating in a dive off the cliff on Leap Day, Feb. 29. Such turmoil in securities long regarded as conservative and safe illustrates how unsettled the market is. T. Rowe Price's Tax-Free Income Fund...
BUSINESS
By Bloomberg News | October 7, 2006
DALLAS -- In a desolate field of tall grass in Texas, 20-foot-high concrete pillars stand in a line. Crows fly above, and old cattle gates sway in a warm breeze. The pillars were built 25 years ago to hold a Disneyland-style type of monorail in a 12,000-acre business park and residential development that was never completed. The unfinished community, named Las Colinas, was financed by $311 million in municipal bonds. When the Dallas County Utility and Reclamation District issued most of the bonds, it paid extra for insurance against the risk of default.
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