The presidential election outcome will be mostly inconsequential for municipal bonds, even if there is a short-term knee-jerk reaction should Donald Trump win. That's because taxes are high and will remain high, said Ron Schwartz, portfolio manager for the RidgeWorth Seix Investment Grade Tax-Exempt Bond Fund (STTBX) - Get Report .
"If Trump wins there will be a short-term selloff, but on the whole the election won't alter much in the municipal bond market," said Schwartz. "And if the government remains divided between the parties then the status quo will certainly remain because the odds of a tax reform package being passed will grow even longer."
The RidgeWorth Seix Investment Grade Tax-Exempt Bond Fund is up 2.2% thus far in 2016, according to Morningstar. The $652 million fund has returned an average of 3.7% annually over the past five years, outpacing 56% of its rivals in Morningstar's national municipal bond category. The fund sports a trailing 12 month yield of 2.2%, according to Morningstar.
The short window before the election -- and the next Federal Reserve meeting -- does provide a good buying opportunity, however, due to the excess supply in the municipal market. Schwartz said issuers are raising as much capital as possible during this period of uncertainty, cheapening munis relative to Treasuries.
Schwartz recommends high-quality bonds, primarily revenue issues in the transportation arena like toll roads and airports. He said state general obligation (G.O.) bonds needs to be scrutinized on a state-by-state basis, and pension issues remain a problem in many places, notably Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Finally, as to the massive infrastructure projects promised by both candidates, Schwartz said they will affect the muni market, yet it remains difficult to determine how much at this juncture.
"We need to see how the federal government is looking to fund all this infrastructure spending," said Schwartz. "They may or may not take the lead. It's going to be a big political issue that's too hard to predict right now."