The good news in the municipal bond market: There is strong investor demand, which is bidding up prices. Not only is the domestic desire for munis running hot, the presence of negative interest rates in developed Europe and Asia has escalated the amount of money flowing in from overseas banks, pension funds and other institutions.
While U.S. stocks managed to eke out a small positive in the first quarter of 2016, bottom-line growth for the same period is coming in negative. It’s the fourth-straight quarter of negative earnings growth for the Standard & Poor’s 500. The last losing streak this long came during the depths of the financial crisis/Great Recession.
It’s been a wild 2016 for the U.S. stock market. Panic-selling began during the first six weeks of the year, followed by a powerful rebound that quickly reversed double-digit losses in large- and small-cap indices. Now the Standard & Poor’s 500 is within sniffing distance of the all-time high attained last May.