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J.R. Rieger

Head of Fixed Income Indices, S&P Dow Jones Indices

James “J.R.” Rieger is Head of Fixed Income Indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI). With over 30 years of fixed income experience, J.R. leads S&P DJI’s global fixed income efforts, overseeing a team of subject matter specialists tasked with the creation and management of fixed income indices around the globe.
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Jan 15, 2018

Rieger Report: Municipal Bond ETFs – 10 Years of Growth

The first Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) tracking municipal bonds were launched in September 2007. Since then the municipal ETF market has grown to 40 ETFs representing over $30.5billion in assets under management. Municipal Bond ETF Market Snap Shot: 40 ETFs all but one represents tax-exempt municipal bonds. There is one ETF tracking taxable municipal bonds….

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Dec 21, 2017

Rieger Report: Munis Show Their Power in Low Rate Environment

The 2017 low interest rate environment has created a wonderful example of the power of tax-exempt bonds. On a nominal return basis, investment grade corporate bonds tracked in the S&P 500 Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index have outperformed tax-exempt bonds tracked in the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index. By considering the tax implications, using…

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Oct 15, 2017

Rieger Report: Will Pressure on Property & Casualty Companies Impact the Bond Markets?

This Fall has been a difficult time for property & casualty companies.  The fires in Northern California have destroyed thousands of homes and the relentless string of hurricanes have damaged parts of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If these companies need to sell fixed income assets to offset liabilities they…

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Oct 3, 2017

Rieger Report: A Tale of Two Bond Markets

The U.S. corporate and municipal bond markets seem to be neck and neck in total return performance for the first three quarters of 2017.  However, there are distinct characteristics of both of these markets that have played a key role and could cause the performance to vary significantly going forward. The intent of this blog post…

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Aug 19, 2017

Rieger Report: Munis with Equity Like Returns!

Sectors of the boring municipal bond market have seen equity like returns in 2017. However, it is the downtrodden segments of the muni market in the last several months of 2016 that have created the opportunities to generate these “equity like returns.” The S&P Municipal bond Tobacco Index, down over 6.7% in the last three months of 2016  has recorded a total return…

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Jun 15, 2017

Rieger Report: Munis – “The Kids are Alright”

As we approach the mid-year point of 2017 the muni bond market has not been shaken by a heavy news cycle of downgrades, negative watches and ever present Illinois and Puerto Rico downbeat press.  Technical factors play a big role in overcoming this pressure but there are other compelling rationale in support of munis in the…

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Jun 13, 2017

Rieger Report: Muni Market’s Moot Reaction to Bond Insurers Credit Watch Negative

So far, the municipal bond market has seen only a modest reaction to the recent negative credit watch being placed on the ratings of several bond insurers. Month to date as of June 12, 2017, the S&P Municipal Bond Insured Index tracking over $148billion in par value of insured bonds has performed in sync with the overall…

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Jun 8, 2017

Rieger Report: Corporate Junk Bonds – “Danger, Will Robinson!”

The bond markets are certainly not “Lost in Space”1. There is good rationale as to why the bond markets are in the position they are today; compressed spreads are the result of low rates coupled with strong demand out pacing supply for yield assets.   However, the homogenization of the US corporate bond markets is worrisome and should…

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Jun 6, 2017

Rieger Report: Illinois G.O.s on the Edge

The recent ratings downgrades by both Moody’s and S&P Global Ratings have placed the State of Illinois general obligation bonds on the edge of becoming junk.  As of this writing, the ratings are Baa3/BBB-/BBB by Moody’s, S&P and Fitch. The fiscal struggle endured by Illinois has indeed been a long one, now yields for Illinois G.O.s have…

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Jun 4, 2017

Rieger Report: Infrastructure Bonds

With the President’s focus on the U.S. infrastructure this coming week it is a good time to look at the existing infrastructure bond markets.  Municipal bonds have long played a critical funding role in the U.S. infrastructure sector. The 19,000 tax-exempt municipal bonds tracked in the S&P  Municipal Bond Infrastructure Index mainly consist of investment grade bonds…

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