Beyond Bulls & Bears

US Infrastructure Plan and Muni Bond Update
Fixed Income

US Infrastructure Plan and Muni Bond Update

In May, our municipal bond team published some thoughts on US President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure package called “The American Jobs Plan.” As this package makes its way through Congress, the team will provide updates—here’s the latest from our Muni Bond Director Jennifer Johnston.

Muni Market View on The American Jobs Plan
Fixed Income

Muni Market View on The American Jobs Plan

US President Joe Biden recently announced an ambitious new $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which touches many areas of the US economy. Jennifer Johnston, director of research, Franklin Templeton Municipal Bonds, outlines some highlights of this sweeping legislation, and how it could impact the muni market.

State and Local Governments Get Shot of Stimulus
Fixed Income

State and Local Governments Get Shot of Stimulus

Another round of stimulus totaling $1.9 trillion is making its way through the US economy, with hopes it will trigger a sharp rebound from the ravages of COVID-19. The relief package includes funds for individual state and local governments, which should help shore up some lost tax revenues and close budget gaps. Jennifer Johnston discusses the implications for municipal bond investors, noting that where these entities direct the funds will be crucial.

COVID 19 Disrupts Municipalities—Will Taxing Millionaires Accelerate Outmigration?
Fixed Income

COVID 19 Disrupts Municipalities—Will Taxing Millionaires Accelerate Outmigration?

Apart from some high-profile downgrades, the muni credit markets finished 2020 buoyed by breakthrough vaccines and signs that state and local tax collections were better than anticipated. That said, many governors still face tough choices when it comes to budget shortfalls: they must either raise revenues, cut spending, or both. Our Director of Municipal Bonds, Ben Barber, and Director of Municipal Bond Research, Jennifer Johnston, explain why tax revenues have rallied unexpectedly for California, and explore if working remotely will accelerate outmigration from New York City.

Meet the Manager: Jennifer Johnston
Fixed Income

Meet the Manager: Jennifer Johnston

As a child, Jennifer Johnston didn’t have visions of working in the financial field, but after 27 years in the industry, she hasn’t looked back. Being a woman in a male-dominated field has presented some challenges, but she has had an attitude of embracing every opportunity that presents itself. Here, we get to know more about Jennifer, director of our municipal bond research team.

Student Housing: A Sector in Peril?
Fixed Income

Student Housing: A Sector in Peril?

Our municipal bond team’s Vander Shanholt gives his take on the long-term challenges for student housing projects. He also explains why state budget cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to opportunities for public-private partnerships to finance campus infrastructure projects.

Responsible Investing in a Traditional Asset Class
Fixed Income

Responsible Investing in a Traditional Asset Class

In the municipal bond market, the issuance of green bonds has provided an attractive solution for investors interested in socially responsible investments while also receiving the tax-exempt income benefit municipal bonds offer. Franklin Templeton’s Municipal Bond team provides an overview of green bonds, including potential benefits and risk considerations.

State Budgets Hit a Bumpy COVID-19 Road—Analyzing Municipal Credit Pressures
Fixed Income

State Budgets Hit a Bumpy COVID-19 Road—Analyzing Municipal Credit Pressures

For most US governors, June typically brings political fireworks when state legislatures hammer out final budgets for the next fiscal year. Our municipal bond team provides an overview of its recent COVID-19 credit research, explaining why some states face mounting credit pressures from high fixed costs and shallow emergency reserves, whereas other states with more diversified economies and strong financial management should fare better post COVID-19.

Municipal Bond Perspective: Where We Go from Here
Fixed Income

Municipal Bond Perspective: Where We Go from Here

The Franklin Municipal Bond Department shares why they think the muni bond market is likely to show signs of distress and elevated volatility for some time.

Municipal Bond Perspective: Approach High Yield with Caution in 2020
Fixed Income

Municipal Bond Perspective: Approach High Yield with Caution in 2020

As we head into 2020, municipal bonds will likely remain attractive for many tax-sensitive investors, but their performance potential could prove to be relatively muted compared to 2019, according to Sheila Amoroso, director of our Municipal Bond Department. She and her team say this is due to the general level of interest rates and tighter yield spreads, particularly for lower-rated segments of the municipal market. They believe that while now may be a good time to consider a more cautious approach, they still see potential for high levels of tax-exempt income.

Municipal Bonds: When Full Faith and Credit Falls Flat
Fixed Income

Municipal Bonds: When Full Faith and Credit Falls Flat

Once upon a time, US municipal bonds were generally considered less risky than corporate bonds. Backed by the full faith and credit of state governments, investors had confidence they would receive their principal plus interest without fail. Times have changed. For some states and local governments, decades of financial mismanagement and massive pension liabilities are threatening to upend the full faith and credit pledge. In this article, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income takes a look at the situation, with Illinois being an example of a particularly dire case.

Changing Dynamics and New Opportunities in Municipal Bonds
Fixed Income

Changing Dynamics and New Opportunities in Municipal Bonds

Many investors flock to municipal bonds because of potential tax advantages. While this year’s taxes are probably already done and dusted, Franklin Templeton’s municipal bond team felt it was an appropriate time to revisit the opportunities and risks that recent US tax reform poses for the space. Sheila Amoroso and Christopher Sperry discuss how constrained supply is impacting the market.