Muni Bond ETFs Slip on Rate Concerns | ETF Trends

The largest municipal bond ETF is down about 3% the past month as yields move higher on talk the Federal Reserve may soon begin tapering its bond purchases.

The iShares National AMT-Free Muni Bond ETF (NYSEArca: MUB) was trading at a discount of 1.5% to indicative value on Wednesday morning.

In fact, MUB is selling at its biggest discount to its underlying assets in almost two years, Bloomberg reports.

“We haven’t yet really seen investors moving out of the fund in response to rate concerns, though it does seem like they have slowed down their purchases,” said Matthew Tucker, head of iShares fixed-income strategy at BlackRock, in the article.

Yields on 30-year munis have climbed to the highest level in about a year, while yields on the benchmark 10-year munis have exceeded the interest rate on similar-maturity Treasuries, according to the story. [Muni Bond ETFs Face Rising Rate Headwinds]

MUB pays a 30-day SEC yield of 1.73%.

Muni bonds are held by many wealthy investors because the income is exempt from federal taxes.

MUB and other muni debt ETFs took a hit in late 2012 on speculation the asset class would lose its tax advantages under a fiscal cliff compromise. However, those fears didn’t pan out.