The Barclays Municipal 3-Year Bond Index gained 0.38 percent percent during the month of February while the Near-Term Tax Free Fund gained 0.17 percent. See complete fund performance here.
The impact of depressed crude prices on oil dependent states remains in the headlines, with rating downgrades already seen this year in Alaska, North Dakota and Louisiana. Louisiana, for example, announced that its budget deficit for the year ending in June has widened 16 percent to $870 million, as lower oil prices depress revenue collections. So far contagion has been limited, with little impact on the broader muni market. Standard & Poor's annual default report found that, as of 2015, 10-year cumulative default rates stood at 0.24 percent for municipals, compared to 11.16 percent for corporates. The more worrisome and unpredictable story continues to be pensions. States taking steps to fund their liabilities and make realistic assumptions are reaping the benefits, while those not making progress are facing negative rating actions. In New Jersey, for example, Governor Chris Christie proposed a $34.8 billion fiscal year 2017 budget that provided for $1.86 billion in pension contributions. That's more than $550 million above last year but only 40 percent of actuary recommendations and about $2 billion less than scheduled under the now-defunct 2011 pension reform law.
Performance data quoted above is historical. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Results reflect the reinvestment of dividends and other earnings. For a portion of periods, the fund had expense limitations, without which returns would have been lower. Current performance may be higher or lower than the performance data quoted. The principal value and investment return of an investment will fluctuate so that your shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Performance does not include the effect of any direct fees described in the fund's prospectus which, if applicable, would lower your total returns. Performance quoted for periods of one year or less is cumulative and not annualized. Obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end here or by calling 1-800-US-FUNDS.
The Barclays 3-Year Municipal Bond Index is a total return benchmark designed for short-term municipal assets. The index includes bonds with a minimum credit rating BAA3, are issued as part of a deal of at least $50 million, have an amount outstanding of at least $5 million and have a maturity of 2 to 4 years.
Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX)
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as of 04/29/2016
Change: $ -0.01
Inception Date: 12/4/1990
Lipper Fund Category: Short/Intermediate Municipal Debt
AUM: $112.35 M as of 03-31-2016
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Morningstar ratings based on risk-adjusted return and number of funds
Category: Municipal National Short-term funds
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