There's no denying that the U.S. tax code will be of immediate importance to municipal bond investors in 2013. But we believe it's important to consider municipal bonds in a broader sense, taking into account not just their exemption status, but also other conditions, including:
their consistently high levels of credit quality
their income-generating potential
their potential to benefit from certain technical factors.
Joseph R. Baxter
Senior Vice President,
Head of Municipal Bond Department,
Senior Portfolio Manager
Substantially all dividend income derived from tax-free funds is exempt from federal income tax. Some income may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax (AMT) that applies to certain investors. Capital gains, if any, are taxable.
Funds that invest primarily in one state may be more susceptible to the economic, regulatory, and other factors of that state than funds that invest more broadly.
Fixed income securities and bond funds can lose value, and investors can lose principal, as interest rates rise. They also may be affected by economic conditions that hinder an issuer’s ability to make interest and principal payments on its debt.
The Fund may also be subject to prepayment risk, the risk that the principal of a fixed income security that is held by the Fund may be prepaid prior to maturity, potentially forcing the Fund to reinvest that money at a lower interest rate.
Index performance returns do not reflect any management fees, transaction costs, or expenses. Indices are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index.
The Barclays Municipal Bond Index measures the total return performance of the long-term, investment grade tax-exempt bond market.
Standard & Poor's credit rating agency. Bonds rated below AAA, including A, are more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than those in higher-rated categories, but the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is still strong. Bonds rated BBB exhibit adequate protection parameters, although adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitments. Bonds rated BB, B, and CCC are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics with BB indicating the least degree of speculation.