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The iShares S&P New York AMT-Free Municipal Bond Fund seeks results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the New York municipal bond sector of the U.S. municipal bond market as defined by the S&P New York AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index.
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Country: United States
- In Your Portfolio: Broad U.S. Bond ETFs, A Guide to Municipal Bond ETFs and Closed-End Funds
- Asset Class Performance: Bonds
Tuesday, Dec 33:16 PMAnother bad year in store for munis?
Tuesday, Dec 33:16 PM| 1 Comment
- Municipals are "a credit market with a rates problem," says Morgan Stanley's Michael Zezas, seeing a base case (60% probability) of total returns of -1.7% to -4.1% in 2014. The bulk of the negative returns should come early, he says, thanks to the 10-year Treasury yield rising to 3.45%.
- The bull case - in which the economy slows and the 10-year yield slides to 2.3% - has munis returning between 3.5% and 6%. The bear case - growth jumps and the 10-year rises above 4% - sees losses of 6.2% to 10%.
- When to jump in? When "loss cushions outpace expected rate increases," he says, and when "market duration has extended."
- Muni ETFs: MUB, HYD, BAB, PZA, MUNI, TFI, ITM, HYMB, MLN, CMF, BABZ, XMPT, BABS, SHM, SUB, PRB, PZT, SMB, NYF, CXA, PWZ, PVI, SMMU, MUAF, INY, MUAD, MUAG, MUAE, VRD, MUAC, GMMB, RVNU
Tuesday, Dec 311:50 AMDetroit eligible for bankruptcy protection, says Judge
Tuesday, Dec 311:50 AM| 25 Comments
- Rejecting calls to dismiss the case, a Detroit judge finds the city acted in good faith when it filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The city, he rules, could not have negotiated in good faith with its creditors without the filing. Pensions are unsecured creditors, says the judge, and thus not protected from potential cuts.
- Assured Guaranty (AGO +0.4%), Ambac (AMBC -1.1%), and MBIA (MBI -0.1%) have all fallen about 1% since the ruling.
- The unions and pension funds are likely to appeal the decision.
- “It is indeed a momentous day,” says the judge, Steven Rhodes. “We have here a judicial finding that this once proud city cannot pay its debts. At the same time, it has an opportunity for a fresh start. I hope that everybody associated with the city will recognize that opportunity.”
- Municipal bond ETFs: MUB, HYD, BAB, PZA, MUNI, TFI, ITM, HYMB, MLN, CMF, BABZ, BABS, XMPT, SHM, SUB, PRB, PZT, SMB, NYF, CXA, PWZ, PVI, SMMU, MUAF, INY, MUAD, MUAG, MUAE, VRD, MUAC, GMMB, RVNU
Monday, Nov 119:06 AMFitch downgrades Chicago
Monday, Nov 119:06 AM| Comment!
- "The downgrade reflects the lack of meaningful solutions to both the near- and long-term (pension) burden," says Fitch, cutting Chicago's unlimited tax general obligation bonds to A- from AA-, and keeping the outlook Negative. This affects more than $8.5B of debt.
- To review: This general obligation debt is secured by the city's full faith and credit and (theoretically) nearly-unlimited power to tax.
- Fitch notes improvement in the government budget, but that the pension woes overshadow this. There's also the sluggish recovery in the Midwest - "high unemployment persists and property tax base recovery has been elusive."
- Muni ETFs: MUB, HYD, BAB, PZA, MUNI, TFI, ITM, HYMB, MLN, CMF, BABZ, BABS, XMPT, SHM, SUB, PRB, PZT, SMB, NYF, CXA, PWZ, SMMU, PVI, MUAF, INY, MUAD, MUAG, MUAE, VRD, MUAC, GMMB, RVNU
Wednesday, Oct 233:08 PMPimco: Stay defensive in munis and jump in when volatility rises
Wednesday, Oct 233:08 PM| Comment!
- The country has "entered a less benign period for public finance," says Pimco municipal managers Joseph Deane, David Hammer and Sean McCarthy. "The inability of states and territories to avail themselves of Chapter 9 bankruptcy only increases the risk of a more disorderly outcome, since they can still default on payments, triggering a need to restructure."
- While not anticipating a big bump in muni defaults, the team is keeping an eye on "pockets of credit stress" in municipalities and the territories. Likely talking about Detroit (as opposed to Puerto Rico), they say "willingness to pay may simply fall short of capacity, and restructuring may be a rational economic consideration."
- Avoid smaller issuers with large and growing fixed costs (unfunded pensions), they say. Position defensively, and take advantage of volatility by buying duration. They note high-quality 30-year municipals could have been purchased in June and July at yields equivalent to the 30-year Treasury - a big discount from the 85-90% of the long bond yield they usually trade at.
- Muni ETFs: Broad: MUB, SUB, MUNI, PVI, PZA, SHM, TFI, VRD, HYD, ITM, MLN, PRB, SMB, GMMB, SMMU, RVNU, NY , NYF, PZT, INY, CMF, PWZ, CXA, BAB, BABZ, BABS.
Tuesday, Oct 223:48 PMUBS likes closed-end munis trading at NAV discounts
Tuesday, Oct 223:48 PM| Comment!
- National closed-end funds are trading at an average 6% discount to NAV vs. a typical 1%, and with a yield of about 7%. Top picks are Neuberger Berman Intermediate Duration Fund (NBH +2.1%) and BlackRock Muni Income Trust (BFK +0.2%).
- As for state funds, they're more likely to have higher exposure to Puerto Rico as - other than paper within their home state - they're also allowed to buy the bonds of U.S. territories. Those with notably higher exposure to PR are: Neuberger Berman CA Intermediate Municipal Fund (NBW -0.1%), BlackRock Muniholdings NJ Quality Fund (MUJ -0.2%) and BlackRock NY Muni Income Trust (BNY -0.2%).
- As for the broader picture, UBS says the muni bond market has “entered into a transitional phase," in which they're no longer a "rates" product, but one valued on "credit." Not expecting a wave of bankruptcies, UBS does see an increase in the number of governments seeking protection. "We expect conventional notions regarding the homogeneity of municipal bonds to dissipate."
- Muni ETFs: MUB, SUB, MUNI, PVI, PZA, SHM, TFI, VRD, HYD, ITM, MLN, PRB, SMB, GMMB, SMMU, RVNU, NY, NYF, PZT, INY, CMF, PWZ, CXA.
Monday, Oct 1412:39 PMOversold munis await bid
Monday, Oct 1412:39 PM| 1 Comment
- "The time to buy securities is when there are explosions going all around,” says Loop Capital's Chris Mier, talking about bargains in municipals thanks to Detroit and Puerto Rico. Nearly $44B has been pulled from muni-bond funds this year, the fastest pace on record, according to Lipper. The average yield on high-grade bonds is 3.13% vs. 2.17% at the end of 2012, and the sale of new muni paper is off 15% from a year ago.
- States account for more than $500B of muni debt and 14 carry AAA ratings - just 4 U.S. companies are rated AAA. "“Investors have overreacted and worry that problems may be everywhere,” says Eaton Vance's Jim Evans. “There are definitely some difficulties, but the vast majority of credits are in good shape.”
- See also: Puerto Rico muni prices plummet 6.6% in October, off nearly 25% YTD.
- ETFs: MUB, SUB, MUNI, PVI, PZA, SHM, TFI, VRD, HYD, ITM, MLN, PRB, SMB, GMMB, SMMU, RVNU, NY, NYF, PZT, INY, CMF, PWZ, CXA.
Wednesday, Aug 213:56 AMMoody's upgrades outlook on U.S. states
Wednesday, Aug 213:56 AM| 3 Comments
- Moody's has lifted its collective outlook on U.S. states to stable from negative, the first time the ratings agency has improved its view of states since the financial crisis.
- "Improving labor and housing markets have boosted consumer confidence, and strong stock-market performance has further improved state revenues," Moody's analyst Baye Larsen explained.
- Credit quality is high, with 30 states holding the two highest ratings, AAA or or Aa1. Due to its massive pension gap, Illinois has the lowest rating among states, A3.
- The local government outlook remains negative. (PR)
- ETFs: MUB, SUB, MUNI, PVI, PZA, SHM, TFI, VRD, HYD, ITM, MLN, PRB, SMB, GMMB, SMMU, RVNU, NYF, PZT, INY, CMF, PWZ, CXA, BAB, BABZ, BABS
Thursday, Jun 135:22 AMU.S. states are expected to end their fiscal year on June 30 with a combined surplus of $23.7B after taking in stronger-than-expected revenues. However, the future is more uncertain, as income this year may have been boosted by residents selling assets ahead of a tax rise. Going forward, states will also have to cope with federal spending cuts, an expansion of Medicaid, and increasing pension and retirement obligations. |Thursday, Jun 135:22 AM| Comment!
Thursday, Mar 219:24 AMiShares adds to its existing lineup of Target Date S&P Municipal Series. MUAG tracks an investment grade muni bond index comprised exclusively of issues maturing in 2018. Its expense ratio of 0.30% is in line with other iShares target date series ETFs, but higher than other municipal ETFs TFI (0.20%), MUB (0.25%), PRB (0.24%), NYF (0.25%). |Thursday, Mar 219:24 AM| Comment!
Thursday, Mar 222012, 10:59 AMWhere do municipal bonds go after giving back much of their big early YTD gains alongside the rise in Treasury yields? While yields are no longer at the "absurdly high" ratio of 150% of Treasurys seen last fall, at 115-120%, they remain well above pre-crisis norms of 85-95%, writes John Mousseau, continuing to see value in the sector. |Thursday, Mar 222012, 10:59 AM| Comment!
Saturday, Feb 42012, 8:15 AMThe "fade Whitney" trade may be getting close to played out as municipals tack a 2.31% rise in January onto a 10.7% gain in 2011, with yields for top-rated paper now at or near all-time lows. Lower-rated munis offer the best relative value, says Jim Kochan, but investors should expect coupon income and nothing more for the rest of the year. |Saturday, Feb 42012, 8:15 AM| 2 Comments
Monday, Jun 62011, 3:27 PMOnce more unto the breach for Meredith Whitney who, armed with comprehensive data, continues to insist state finances are far worse than commonly thought. Of particular note is unfunded pension liabilities, kept off state balance sheets, but 3X larger than on-balance sheet debt. |Monday, Jun 62011, 3:27 PM| 7 Comments
Monday, May 92011, 8:04 AMBanks renewed or replaced 85% of expiring letters of credits with municipalities in Q1, a report from Moody's shows, easing fears of a costly scramble to refinance tens of billions of dollars. The banks had issued these notes, worth $13.5B, during the financial crisis. |Monday, May 92011, 8:04 AM| 4 Comments
Friday, Apr 82011, 8:48 AM
Thursday, Apr 72011, 12:19 PM
Wednesday, Jan 122011, 8:51 AMTo temper Jamie Dimon's bearishness on muni bonds, a bullish note from DoubleLine Capital's Greg Whitely, who says a blanket dismissal of the muni sector "would be a big mistake." The end of the Build America Bonds program "creates a very favorable supply/demand dynamic in a sector replete with liquid, high-quality and high-yielding bonds." |Wednesday, Jan 122011, 8:51 AM| 1 Comment