03/31/2015

2015 Lipper Fund Award for Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund

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We are pleased to announce that Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund has received a 2015 Lipper Fund Award, presented to Aquila Investment Management LLC.

Each year, Lipper recognizes funds and fund management firms for their consistently strong risk-adjusted performance relative to their peers, based on Lipper’s proprietary performance-based methodology.  Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund Class Y received a Lipper Award in the Mid-Cap Core Category for the 3-year performance period ending 12/31/2014.  At that time, the Lipper category included 324 funds.  The Fund sub-adviser is Three Peaks Capital Management, LLC and the co-portfolio managers are Sandy Rufenacht and Zach Miller.

The equity investment strategy of Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund is very distinctive, with equity investment ideas generated in the process of conducting research on high yield debt issuers with financially responsible management teams that have used leverage to grow their business and who are committed to improving the corporate balance sheet.  For certain companies, improvement in the corporate balance sheet may lead to improvement in the performance of the company stock.

We are honored that Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund has been recognized by Lipper for risk-adjusted performance.  You will find more information about the investment strategy and performance of the Fund on this site.

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.

07/02/2015

Aquila Municipal Bond Funds Continue to Avoid Puerto Rico Debt

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Each of the municipal bond funds offered in the Aquila Group of Funds adheres to an investment strategy focused on investment grade bonds as a means of managing credit risk, and an intermediate average portfolio maturity as a means of managing interest rate risk. In keeping with our emphasis on high-quality holdings, the seven state-specific municipal bond funds offered by Aquila have no Puerto Rico holdings, whereas Morningstar has reported that over 20% of US Bond Funds had roughly an $11.3 billion total exposure to Puerto Rico debt as of 3/31/15; down from two-thirds of funds having exposure a year ago.

On Monday June 29th, Puerto Rico’s Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla announced that the territory’s approximately $73 billion in municipal debt is unpayable and called for concessions from creditors. Moody’s downgraded Puerto Rico’s general obligation debt into junk territory with a negative outlook on July 1, 2015, which was the seventh downgrade in five years.

On the Aquila Group of Funds website, you will find information regarding the investment strategies and full portfolio holdings of each state-specific municipal bond fund. The investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information will be found in the Fund prospectus. Information on the Fund holdings will be found in the Fact Sheet, Annual and Semi-Annual reports, and the Portfolio Holdings report. We encourage you to review this information, and to visit the web site frequently for updates on each fund, and our perspectives on the markets.

06/26/2015

Utah and Colorado Ranked #3 and #4 in Top States for Business

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Each year, CNBC evaluates all 50 states using 60 business and economic metrics in 10 categories to come up with an annual “Top States for Business” list. This year Minnesota took the top spot, with Texas second, followed by Utah in third place and Colorado in fourth.US Map separate United States

Since 2012, Utah has consistently ranked number three on the list. CNBC cited job growth, low unemployment, improvement in education and low tax rates as factors contributing to the State’s pro-business environment.

Colorado took a big leap this year to number four from tying for number eight in 2014. The state ranked seventh in 2013. Colorado’s largest contributing factor was the economy. The state has one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, with strong job growth and an unemployment rate well below the national average.

More information on the Utah and Colorado economies can be found in our latest investment commentaries for Aquila Tax-Free Fund For Utah and Aquila Tax-Free Fund of Colorado.

 

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 from your financial professional, and when you call 800-437-1020 or visit www.aquilafunds.com

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Investments in bonds may decline in value due to rising interest rates, a real or perceived decline in credit quality of the issuer, borrower, counterparty, or collateral, adverse tax or legislative changes, court decisions, market or economic conditions. Fund performance cold be more volatile than that of funds with greater geographic diversification. For certain investors, some dividends may be subject to federal and state taxes, including the Alternative Minimum Tax.  Consult your professional tax adviser.

06/16/2015

Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund Recognized as a Category King

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Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund was included in a “Category Kings” report by The Wall Street Journal for the one-year period ending May 29, 2015. The Category Kings report recognizes the top 10 performing funds, based on total return, in 16 Lipper categories for the one-year period. Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund class Y (ATGYX) was listed at #1 in the Lipper Mid Cap Core equity category, out of 384 open-end mutual funds. During this period, the Fund generated a total return of 20.2% compared to the Lipper Mid Cap Core category average of 10.0% and the Russell 3000 Index return of 11.9%. Read more “Aquila Three Peaks Opportunity Growth Fund Recognized as a Category King”

06/05/2015

Our Views on the Municipal Bond Market

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Supply of Municipal Bonds
Supply and demand continue to drive valuations in the municipal bond market.  Through May, 2015 the supply of municipal bonds picked up dramatically, although as much as 70% of municipal bond issuance represented the refunding of outstanding debt, allowing issuers to take advantage of low rates and reduce debt service costs.  Even with more supply nationally, we saw the market readily absorb the new issuance.  State and municipal new issuance has been limited in recent years, and as a result, the outstanding supply of municipal bonds has not grown significantly, while refinancings have improved the credit profile of many issuers.

Yield and Valuation
Municipal yields remain attractive on a relative valuation basis at 100% to 105% of Treasuries.  As of June 1, 2015, the yield on the 10-year Treasury was 2.19% while the yield on the 10-year Barclays Municipal Bond Index was 2.25%.  Read more “Our Views on the Municipal Bond Market”

05/21/2015

Moody’s and S&P Upgrade Arizona in May

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During the month of May, the State of Arizona received ratings upgrades from both Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s.  On May 5th Moody’s upgraded Arizona from Aa3 to Aa2, and on May 20th Standard & Poor’s upgraded Arizona from AA-minus to AA.  A credit analyst from Standard & Poor’s cited improvements in Arizona’s budget, including recent growth in tax revenues, as reasons for the upgrade.  The economy in Arizona continues to improve and higher income tax collections may reduce or eliminate the need to draw on the rainy day fund during the 2015 fiscal year, which ends June 30th.  Spending restraint, along with stronger revenue growth, is anticipated to help Arizona maintain structural balance in the fiscal 2016 budget and in the near future.

05/08/2015

Oregon State Supreme Court Rules on PERS Reforms

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In 2013, the Oregon State Legislature passed two bills which collectively reduced the 2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for State of Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) retirees and ended a payment intended to compensate out-of-state retirees paying Oregon income taxes, which resulted in approximately $5.3 billion in combined savings.  Last week, the Oregon State Supreme Court overturned a significant portion of the previously enacted PERS reforms.  The Supreme Court decision effectively restored the 2% cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA), reversing approximately $5 billion in combined pension liability reductions and eliminating potential future savings already incorporated into state and local government budgets.  The court ultimately upheld the state’s ability to eliminate the income tax offset to out-of-state retirees, and said the legislature can change the COLA for benefits being offered to current and future PERS members. Read more “Oregon State Supreme Court Rules on PERS Reforms”

04/30/2015

Complexities in Social Security drive baby boomers to seek advice

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As the ‘baby-boom’ generation reaches retirement age at an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people per day, according to AARP and the Pew Research Center, questions about Social Security increase.

baby boomer couple

The problem for many planning for retirement is that as the Social Security system has aged (it began in 1937 with the first check going out 75 years ago), it has become more and more complex. Further, while many begin taking benefits as soon as possible at 62 years old, the life expectancy has increased from around 60 in 1937 to close to 80 years old in 2013. Clearly, making the most of retirement income has become more important.

For these reasons, many financial advisers are choosing to focus some or all of their practice on retirement strategies and Social Security maximization.  There are many resources available to these advisers. Read more “Complexities in Social Security drive baby boomers to seek advice”

04/21/2015

Rhode Island State Treasurer, Seth Magaziner, speaks to Fund shareholders

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During the Aquila Narragansett Tax-Free Income Fund Annual Shareholder meeting on April 2, 2015, Rhode Island State Treasurer, Seth Magaziner spoke to attendees, sharing his observations on the economy in Rhode Island.  He pointed out that the financial position of the state is steadily improving, having reached a turning point with a new sense of optimism in the air.  Read more “Rhode Island State Treasurer, Seth Magaziner, speaks to Fund shareholders”

04/15/2015

Are You Free of Your Tax Bill for the Year?

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pencil 1040As you put the 2014 tax season behind you, think about how much of what you earn is allocated to pay taxes each year. This year, Americans will pay a total of $4.8 trillion, or 31% of their income in taxes. Consider how many days of work will be dedicated to paying that bill. Every year the Tax Foundation1 establishes Tax Freedom Day®, which marks the day when the nation has earned enough money collectively to pay its total tax bill. For 2015, Tax Freedom Day® falls on April 24th; three days later than 2014 due to the country’s delayed economic recovery. This means the average taxpayer will spend 114 days working to pay their taxes. If federal borrowing is included in the equation, it moves Tax Freedom Day® out another 14 days to May 8th. Read more “Are You Free of Your Tax Bill for the Year?”