Municipal bond offerings – updated 2/13/2009

This morning we have reloaded our online database of upcoming municipal bonds. More than 550 upcoming offerings have been published. A few notable deals include a $614 million g.o. from the State of Georgia, a $525 million g.o. from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and a $300 million g.o. from the State of Connecticut.  The largest [...]

Stimulus Bill

The New York Times has a list of the major provisions in the most recent stimulus bill expected to be passed by the House and Senate on Friday. Here are a few key items: Income Tax credit of $400 for individuals / $800 married couples. Phases out on income over $75,000 for individuals / $150,000 [...]

Municipal bond prices up, yields down

Below are two current general obligation municipal bond offerings. The first is a $430 million offering from the State of Massachusetts. The second is a $300 million offering from the State of Connecticut. A quick look at the pricing on these deals shows that yields have fallen quite a bit in the past several weeks. [...]

Federal Reserve programs to strengthen credit markets and the economy

On Tuesday February 10th Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke offered the following testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is scheduled to meet next on March 17th, 2009. Recently, the federal funds rate has settled into the 0.22 – 0.24 basis points range – just below the [...]

Tax season help

As we enter the busy part of tax season, we receive more and more questions regarding tax forms. Vanguard has put together a helpful article which explains the various tax forms (1099-B, 1099-DIV, 1099-R, 1099-INT) you may receive and their purpose. Vanguard also has an extensive Tax Center FAQ which answers some of the most [...]

Clear Sky Accounts CD

Chesapeake Bank, through their Clear Sky Accounts website, is offering some attractive short-term CD rates: According to their website, Chesapeake Bank participates in the FDIC’s Transaction Account Guarantee Program.

Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF)

Friday afternoon the Federal Reserve released additional terms & conditions of the TALF. ( full terms here ) Effective February 6, 2009 CURRENT TERMS AND CONDITIONS FacilityThe TALF will be a Federal Reserve credit facility authorized under section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. The TALF is intended to make credit available to consumers and [...]

Jobs and Employment

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the January 2009 Employment Situation report. As expected, it was an ugly report. 598,000 jobs were lost in January and the unemployment rate rose from 7.2% to 7.6%. The following is our updated 5-year rolling unemployment rate chart: Since December 2007, the economy has shed 3.6 million [...]

U.S. Treasury refunding – 50 year bond possible

The Treasury Department announced another record quarterly refunding today. This surge in supply has forced some notable changes to the auction schedule. The Treasury will revive the 7-year note on a monthly basis. In addition, the Treasury will auction more 30-year bonds on a quarterly basis. Other ideas being considered for the future are introducing [...]

CD note

You have probably noticed that CD rates are declining due to lower interest rates. Still, they offer some of the best fixed income returns available. With up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance, CDs offer conservative investors a safe place to wait out the credit crisis. One of the most attractive CDs presently available comes from [...]

U.S. Public Debt

The total public debt outstanding has been growing at an accelerating rate the past several months. As of February 2nd, the total public debt outstanding was $10,667,963,268,393.28 (yes, that is ten point six trillion dollars). The figures have become so big that most citizens cannot comprehend them. Another way to illustrate the recent increase in [...]

Taxable-Equivalent Yield

One of the most common decisions investors have to make is whether to hold their money market and bond funds in a taxable or tax-exempt money market accounts. Recently, the Vanguard Group created an easy to use Taxable-Equivalent Yield Calculator to assist investors facing this decision. It requires you to know 2 things: 1) which [...]

FDIC Insurance

If you are purchasing CDs in this turbulent environment, you want to be sure that you have adequate FDIC insurance on your accounts. The FDIC has created a special website to help you do this:  myFDICinsurance.gov The site includes an easy to use calculator to help you determine whether your accounts are covered. Give it [...]

Federal Reserve extends liquidity programs

From the Federal Reserve: The Federal Reserve on Tuesday announced the extension through October 30, 2009, of its existing liquidity programs that were scheduled to expire on April 30, 2009. The Board of Governors and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) took these actions in light of continuing substantial strains in many financial markets. The [...]

December PCE update

This morning, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the December 2008 personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index data. The following chart plots the headline and core PCE for the most recent five year period. Due to delayed release of this data, we were not able to include it in today’s investment letter. In December, the [...]