01/08/2016

2016 Colorado Municipal Bond Outlook – The Market Awakens

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By Timothy Iltz, Vice President and Municipal Bond Analyst, Kirkpatrick Pettis Capital Management

As 2015 comes to a close, Colorado finishes the year with tax-exempt municipal bond issuance exceeding 2014 by over 30%. Low interest rates, refunding opportunities and economic development all contributed to elevating Colorado municipal borrowings above 2014 levels. Issuance over the year was highlighted by several transactions, in which we participated, incluCO 1 2016 issuance graphicding: $83 million City of Colorado Springs Utilities System Revenue Bonds, $194 million Regional Transportation District bus and light rail certificates, $22.75 million Telluride School District General Obligation Bonds and the $15.5 million Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority Clean Water Revenue Bonds.

 

During 2015, issuance was relatively steady with 59% of bonds issued during the first half of the year and 41% issued during the second half. Unlike other states where issuance waned at year-end, Colorado finished the year strong with 13% of annual issuance in December. It is likely not a coincidence that 99% of bonds issued during December were sold prior to the Fed’s meeting, as issuers rushed to sell bonds prior to the Fed’s one-quarter percentage point rate hike.

Read more “2016 Colorado Municipal Bond Outlook – The Market Awakens”

01/08/2016

2016 Oregon Municipal Bond Outlook – The Market Awakens

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By Timothy Iltz, Vice President and Municipal Bond Analyst, Kirkpatrick Pettis Capital Management

As 2015 comes to a close, Oregon finishes the strongest year of tax-exempt municipal bond issuance in the last decade. Low interest rates, refunding opportunities and a strong election calendar nudged current year issuance ahead of all of 2014 by mid-JOR 1 2016 issuance graphicune. Issuance over the year was highlighted by several issues, in which we participated, including: $120 million Springfield School District General Obligation Bonds, $31 million La Grande School District, $37.88 million Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District General Obligation Bonds, $134.59 million Tri-Met Senior Lien Payroll Tax Revenue Bonds, and the $12.8 million City of Lebanon General Obligation Bonds.

 

During the year, issuance slowed following the sale of voter approved general obligation bonds during the first half of the year. Just under half of all municipal bonds issued during 2015 were the result of refunding activity. During the second half of the year, bond issuance was largely dominated by refunding bonds, as issuers rushed to take advantage of low rates prior to the Fed’s meeting earlier this month.

Read more “2016 Oregon Municipal Bond Outlook – The Market Awakens”

12/31/2015

Aquila Group of Funds – 2015 Capital Gains

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On December 31, 2015, the following funds paid 2015 short-term and long-term capital gain distributions to shareholders of record as of December 30, 2015.

The amounts distributed on December 31, 2015 were:

Fund GainShort-Term Capital GainLong-Term Capital Gain
Aquila Tax-Free Trust of Arizona$0.00156$0.02044
Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah$0.00045$0.00565
Aquila Three Peaks High Income Fund$0.00010$0.00

                                                   

Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund 2015 Capital Gain distributions were reported on December 1, 2015.

Shares of a fund may only be sold by offering the Fund’s Prospectus. Before investing in a fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial adviser, and when you call 800-437-1020.

12/17/2015

Aquila Manager Discusses High Yield Bond Market

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Aquila Three Peaks High Income Fund co-portfolio manager, Sandy Rufenacht, was interviewed recently on CNBC following several turbulent days of trading in the US high yield corporate bond market. He discussed the widening of high yield spreads that had been occurring for some time, the range of performance across quality rating categories within the high yield asset class, and technical pressure on high yield names brought about by trading in ETFs.

Listen to the full interview.

Aquila Three Peaks High Income Fund co-portfolio manager, Sandy Rufenacht

 © 2015 CNBC/Dow Jones Business Video. All Rights Reserved.

 

Sandy Rufenacht was also among a number of industry professionals quoted by Reuters on the day the Fed implemented the 25 basis point rate increase.

Before investing in one of the Aquila Group of Funds, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial advisor, or by calling 800-437-1020

12/07/2015

Anticipated Increase in Federal Funds Rate

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Market participants and observers have been expecting an increase in the Federal Funds rate for some time, and it seems that the Fed will finally implement a one-quarter percent (25 basis points) increase in December. The rate increase has been so widely anticipated that bond market participants won’t be surprised by the move; in fact it appears that the rate increase may already be reflected to some extent in bond prices.

The Federal Funds rate has been unchanged since 2008, and as a result, there may be many bond investors who could benefit from a review of past periods of rising rates and the range of resulting market and price responses.

When you open any one of the single-state municipal bond fund pages on this site, under Featured Publications you will find Historic Rate and Price Variation with an illustration of Past Periods of Rising Interest Rates. It is worthwhile to review the impact that those past periods of rising rates had on the value of shares in the municipal bond funds, each of which follows a high-quality, intermediate maturity strategy in order to manage credit and interest rate risk.

When the Fed does raise rates, the investing landscape will change, creating a range of investment opportunities in the process. We encourage you to review our investment strategies and how those strategies have performed in past periods of rising rates.

Before investing in one of the Aquila Group of Funds, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial advisor, or by calling 800-437-1020.

12/02/2015

Barron’s Profiles Co-Portfolio Manager Sandy Rufenacht

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Barron’s profiled the co-portfolio manager of Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund and Aquila Three Peaks High Income Fund, Sandy Rufenacht, in their November 16, 2015 issue in an article by Reshma Kapadia titled Two for the Money.

Sandy Rufenacht Co-Portfolio Manager

Sandy Rufenacht
Co-Portfolio Manager

The distinctive research and investment approach implemented in managing both funds is described as originating with intensive debt analysis while gathering detailed information about a company, often from unconventional sources. Other elements of the research and strategy include developing an understanding of free cash flow and debt covenants.

Spend some time reading the Barron’s article to gain a perspective on the strategies of the two funds, and see the Investment Process Summary for both funds.

For the most recent quarter-end performance, see the Aquila Three Peaks High Income Fund Fact Sheet and the Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund Fact Sheet.

Before investing in one of the Aquila Group of Funds, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial advisor, or by calling 800-437-1020.

12/01/2015

Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund – 2015 Capital Gains

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On December 1, 2015, Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund paid 2015 short-term and long-term capital gain distributions to shareholders of record as of November 30, 2015.

The amounts distributed on December 1, 2015 were:

Short-term capital gain$0.01136
Long-term capital gain $0.75519
Total$0.76655

Shares of the Fund may only be sold by offering the Fund’s Prospectus. Before investing in the Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial adviser, and when you call 800-437-1020.

11/06/2015

Capital Gain Distribution Estimates – 2015

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Capital Gain Distribution Estimates for 2015 are now available.

Estimates are subject to change depending on market conditions, board approvals, and other circumstances. The figures provided are the result of estimates and are based on information available as of October 31, 2015. The amount and character of distributions cannot be determined until the anticipated record dates.

Shares of the Funds may only be sold by offering the Funds’ Prospectus. Before investing in a Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial adviser, and when you call 800-437-1020.

11/03/2015

Aquila fund recognized in New York Times report

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Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund was included in a New York Times report listing 5-Year Leaders among US General Stock Funds based on total return performance results through September 30, 2015.

The New York Times report recognizes the top 20 performing US General Stock Funds, based on Morningstar total percentage returns for the quarter, the year and five years, annualized, and the fund’s rank within the universe of Nasdaq-listed stock funds tracked by Morningstar Inc. for periods ending September 30, 2015. Only funds traded on Nasdaq with at least $50 million in assets were included.

Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund pursues a distinctive approach to selecting equity investments based on a long history of conducting research in the high-yield corporate bond market, and investing in high-yield issuers when research indicates they are successfully and prudently managing leverage and the corporate balance sheet. The characteristics we look for in high-yield debt issuers have helped identify opportunities for improvement in the equity performance of those companies. This strategy in the high-yield debt market is the foundation on which the strategy of Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund was built.

Performance quoted in The New York Times report may not be current. For current quarter-end standardized performance please click here.

Before investing in a Fund, carefully read about and consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information found in the Fund prospectus. The prospectus is available on this site, from your financial adviser and when you call 800-437-1020.

Morningstar, a mutual fund rating service, compiles performance data used to derive their own ranking data. Morningstar rankings are based on total return calculations without an adjustment for sales charges.

10/29/2015

Utah Demonstrating Strong Economic Performance

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Solid business and economic performance in the state of Utah has garnered media attention recently.  Forbes highlighted Utah as leading its list of the Best States for Business again, following another top place ranking last year – a distinction Utah has held 5 times since 2010.  Forbes cited factors including limited regulation, low energy costs, and expanding employment.

Deseret News featured results of an economic performance study produced by Praxis Strategy Group for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation which identified Utah as one of the most industrious states in the nation based on the vital economy and performance in the high-tech sector.  The study identified Utah as “the most fundamentally sound state across all identified policy areas” covered by the study, which include economic performance, high-tech performance, transportation and trade, talent pipeline, innovation and entrepreneurship, and business climate.