How Safe are South Carolina Municipal Bonds?

Back in December of 2010, analyst Meredith Whitney was interviewed on “60 Minutes” where she predicted “hundreds of billions of dollars” in municipal bond defaults.  Many investors responded emotionally and fled municipal bonds.  Since that flurry of activity, municipal bonds have been one of the best performing asset classes.  As of yesterday, the total returns for the Barclays Municipal Index is 6.71% for the past 3 years, 9.65% for the past year, and 6.26% year-to-date for 2012.  Today, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services upgraded the Charleston County School District general obligation bonds from “AA” to “AA+.”

Here is some more news from last year in case you missed it:

For News Release May 26, 2011 from New York: “Moody’s upgrades Charleston County Parks & Recreation District to AAA reflecting the district’s strong cash position and conservative budgeting”

July 21, 2011 Wall Street Journal: “Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services on Thursday upgraded its rating on the general‐obligation debt of Greenville, S.C., to AAA from AA+, citing the city’s strong financial performance throughout the recession”

August 25, 2011 Charleston Business Journal: “Fitch Ratings upgraded Charleston County bonds…to AAA, citing the fiscal discipline of the county and the local economy’s stability and increasing diversification”

September 28, 2011 Coastal Observer: “Moody’s, the bond rating firm, raised its rating on the Georgetown County School District from A1 to Aa3…citing their growing money reserve”

If you have a plan and stick with high-quality investments, the risk hiding in your portfolio is the potential threat of an alarmist reaction.  Keep a cool head and “invest right, live right!”

© 2012 Pawleys Investment Advisors, LLC.  All rights reserved.

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